It’s the time of year for industry horror stories, and Zulu Alpha Kilo delivers again, this time with a sordid tale of big money and dreams dashed by greed.
Little Billy has a profitable business selling lemonade in front of his house. He has supportive parents, loyal customers and a sustainable business model. But things go south for Billy when a big lemonade holding company sets its sights on his stand and buys him out.
Now his fresh lemons are replaced with pre-made lemon powder. The stand gets a fancy new rebrand, but Billy is bleeding customers unhappy with his offerings. Under pressure from the board, he has to bring in freelancers, and even fires his own sister, Tammy.
But it turns out nobody is happy with this arrangement. Billy’s “a whiny little shit,” admits a holdco rep, before the board ousts him. Fortunately, this frees Billy up to take on a new, independent project—one that will hopefully have better results than the last.
The spot is a not-so-subtle dig at recent holding company acquisitions of formerly independent creative agencies, like Droga5. Other indy shops have taken potshots at the deal, too, like Terri & Sandy’s “Free Droga5” stunt at Cannes Lions this year.
Previous spots in this tongue-in-cheek series from Zulu Alpha Kilo include a “Scared Straight” initiative to keep potential recruits out of the industry and the “Say No to Spec Work” PSA.