A client promotion leaves a memorable footprint and shows that every medium offers a chance to be your best.
There’s something about Zulu Alpha Kilo, the firm behind this year’s Best of Show-winning project Mostro with Sole, that I just can’t shake. Is it their bold approach to interactive design that beckons the public to experience brands first-hand? Their fresh spin on a classic medium? Or, maybe it’s the clear link between Zulu’s own self-promotion projects and their client work? There’s also the fact that Zulu Alpha Kilo founder and creative director Zak Mroueh previously was chief creative officer of TAXI Canada.
From the start, Mostro with Sole left a memorable footprint on the minds of all the Promotion Design Awards judges. Picture this: Thousands of passersby walked through Toronto’s busy Dundas Square and stumbled upon a larger-than-life paint can, with sticky footprints leading to a gigantic vinyl canvas. Then, something magical happened. They stripped off their high heels, work boots and shiny executive shoes and traded them temporarily for a pair of Puma’s re-launched Mostro sneakers. Participants pulled a painter’s smock over their clothes and experienced Puma’s product in the middle of their normal day. They dipped their Mostro soles in paint and trekked, ran, danced or moon-walked across the billboard-sized canvas. “They had such a good time, they forgot this would become an advertisement,” says Barrett Holman, Zulu Alpha Kilo account supervisor.
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The top layer of the advertisement was pre-printed and draped over the public artwork created by the unique soles of the product, to complete the billboard that appeared above a retail store, SoftMoc, where the shoes could be purchased. The window display at SoftMoc included a video of the experience that produced both the billboard and the paint-stained Mostro shoes scattered within it. Requests flooded in to buy the colorful shoes used to create the artwork. “It just shows that you can take something like a billboard—a traditional medium—and make it very, very non-traditional,” Mroueh says.
As a result of the experiential design, buzz spread organically online and through the oldest medium—word-of-mouth. “We believe making people connect with a brand through a real-life interaction creates more dialogue with the consumer and, in turn, with their network of friends,” Mroueh says.
That same philosophy can be traced to Zulu’s own self-promotion experience, Think Box. After Mroueh left Taxi in 2007, he wanted to create an agency that makes integrated communication a part of its DNA. So, he and his staff constructed a 9-by-14-foot box on Dundas square. For nine hours, eight thinkers from the new firm crammed inside the box, which was lined with whiteboards and equipped with computers.
Their goal was to provide creative solutions to any question within 20 minutes, and they had no idea what they were in for that day. To add a layer of stress, all questions and solutions appeared on the large screen overlooking the square. It was a real-life demonstration of the agency’s collaborative principal and founding philosophy that the world could use more creativity. Questions streamed in, from “How can I convince my lawyer husband that we can take a vacation, despite the dwindling economy?” to, “How can the fierce and chilling wind on Dundas Square be mitigated?”
View other campaigns by Zulu Alpha Kilo
“When it comes to work for ourselves, we always remind ourselves to practice what we preach to our clients,” Mroueh says. “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to execute something that is going to be complicated to produce. We always somehow find a way. It’s never about trying to take the easy way out, although it would be a lot easier for everyone involved. But how fun would that be?”
Title Mostro with Sole | Design Firm Zulu Alpha Kilo, Toronto; www.zulualphakilo.com | Creative Directors Zak Mroueh, Joseph Bonnici | Associate Creative Director Mark Francolini | Art Director Simon Au | Designers Grant Cleland, Erick Nielsen | Photographers D.O.P: Ron Zeeman/Studio M | Copywriter George Ault | Account Supervisor Barrett Holman | Agency Producer Eileen Smith | Studio Artist Mike Kavouris | Senior Account Manager Bryden McDonald/Mosaic | Account Coordinator Monica Cegielski/Mosaic | Producer Mike Mills/Studio M | Editor Tom Mountain/Studio M | Client Puma Canada