Responses by Zak Mroueh, chief creative officer/founder, Zulu Alpha Kilo
Background: Every year, Strategy magazine, the industry’s largest trade publication in Canada, hosts an Agency of The Year gala where shortlisted shops are asked to produce a short video. We used the platform to call attention to how the pitch process can be better for both clients and agencies. Hopefully, “World’s Worst RFP” and smarterpitch.com will start a dialogue just like “Say No To Spec” did. We want to help clients be better at finding the best agency partner and help the industry put in place some standards for itself.
Reasoning: Creative directing team Gerald Kugler and Rodger Eyre first presented the idea to me for the 2017 Agency of the Year gala; it was meant to be another creative way to demonstrate Zulu’s perspective on the ridiculousness of the pitch process. I loved the idea, but the team was in the midst of a major client project and didn’t have time to fine-tune the RFP idea further. So, we kept it on the shelf and went with a video called “Scared Straight: Out of Advertising” instead. When we were shortlisted again in 2018, it was a no-brainer to bring “World’s Worst RFP” to life.
Challenges: The guys would say having me as their creative director, director and client all at once. Despite this unfortunate circumstance, it still turned out alright. The three of us work well together and, according to Gerald and Rodger, I didn’t pull any director tantrums on set.
Favorite details: Although you might not notice them at first, the final touch to the video was the news ticker-like captions that popped up during the press conference. The bits crafted by the team were funny and well thought out.
Time constraints: The website, smarterpitch.com, was a late-breaking idea, so we had to scramble to put down on paper what we’ve learned through all the RFPs we’ve worked on over the years. There’s nothing like a deadline to get things done. Right up until we screened the video, we were still tweaking the copy on the site.
Alternative approach: We produced “World’s Worst RFP” on a tiny budget through our content studio, Zulubot. If we could do it all over again, I would have hired a continuity person on set. Without one, it made the editing process challenging in a few scenes. Fortunately, we had amazing in-house editor Marissa Bergougnou. Editing with Gerald, Roger and me was challenging, but she cohesively pulled all three of our thoughts together and brought editorial ideas of her own to the table.