It’s no secret that companies are asking employees to return to the office. In recent surveys, it’s been reported that nearly 90% of them have or soon will be implementing a return-to-office policy, with some companies factoring employees’ in-office attendance as part of their performance reviews.
Zulu Alpha Kilo addresses the return-to-office reality in their hilarious and timely new video, “Living from Work.” The satirical film is set in a fictitious agency where the staff are told that they’re expected to be in the office not two or three days, but an outrageous seven-day-a-week in-office expectation. While the staff don’t initially take the news well, they are soon sold on the advantages of living from work™ as the President & CEO delivers “the pitch of her career”. With no more daily commutes, no more mortgages, staff are encouraged to raid the boardroom after meetings for leftover food, thereby reducing their grocery bills.
By living from work, staff receive wonderful workplace perks like spending Christmas morning together brainstorming on a pitch. After all, who doesn’t want to review pitch decks during the Holidays? The agency reduces its freelancer costs by exploiting the agency’s in-house talent. In the video, a mom does homework with her children, pressuring them to finish writing “20 TikTok scripts” and “15 banner ads” by end of day.
“Living From Work” debuted at last night’s Agency of the Year competition in Toronto. The annual awards show is hosted by strategy magazine, Canada’s largest trade publication. As part of the show, the country’s top agencies are invited to create their own self-promo videos about whatever subject they want.
Zulu Alpha Kilo has often used these videos as a platform to push back against the industry’s sacred cows. Last year’s “Left-Handed Mango Chutney” video poked fun at the industry’s awards obsession. One of the most well-known examples was the viral sensation “Say No to Spec,” which started a movement against spec work in new business pitches and garnered millions of views on YouTube and Facebook. Other comedic videos have included “Awards Gone Wild,” highlighting what would happen if other professions resorted to the same tactic to win awards. “World’s Worst RFP,” satirized the RFP process, and “Billy’s Lemonade,” lampooned holding companies, while celebrating agency independence.
Like all previous videos, agency founder and Creative Chairman, Zak Mroueh once again got behind the camera and both wrote and directed this year’s film through the agency’s in-house production arm, Zulubot. A few years back, Forbes named the indie shop as the “SNL of agencies” in an article. This latest film further cements the agency’s reputation, transcending the ad business and making it relatable to all industries who are grappling with their hybrid model.
The video is loaded with easter eggs. From naming the manipulative CEO “Karen Sly” to the empathetic Human Resources Director named “Jay Hart”. According to Mroueh, there are a few more easter eggs in the post-it notes scene. For example, if someone blows up the post it notes scene, one of the notes says “Zooming in? Get a life.” In this sequence, an employee finishes his work week with an afternoon brainstorm and then commutes home in seconds, only to discover that his Friday night dinner is leftover sushi from “Monday’s meeting.”
For the sixth year in a row, the shop was also nominated in the three biggest categories at the show: agency of the year, digital agency, and design agency of the year. ZAK is one of only two agencies in Canada to accomplish this feat six years running. Besides screening one of the most uproarious videos of the night, Zulu Alpha Kilo also won silver for Agency of the Year and bronze for both Design Agency of the Year and Digital Agency of the Year.
Title: Living From Work
Client/Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Writer/Art Director: Zak Mroueh
Script advisor: Amanda Mroueh
Designer: Dejan Djuric
Account Team: Mike Sutton, Alex Berube
Planning Team: Maxine Thomas, Emily Garvey
Communications Team: Kelly Flynn
Production House: Zulubot
Director: Zak Mroueh
DP: Adam Griffiths, Bravo Inc.
Producers: Colleen Allen, Amy Groll
Post Production: Zulubot
Post Production Director: Lena Hamady
Editor: Brian Noon
Online Artists: Felipe Chaparro & Can Yuksel
Motion Graphics: Miguel Natividad
Audio Engineer: Dino Cuzzolino