Subaru names Zulu Alpha Kilo new agency

Subaru Canada has picked Zulu Alpha Kilo as its new agency of record for strategy, creative, digital development and production.

Choosing a new agency was less about a need for changes to the brand or its core pillars, and more about finding a new agency that was larger, with the ability to help Subaru deliver consistent messaging across media and channels, said Ted Lalka, Subaru’s vice-president, product management and marketing. Subaru had been with Red Urban since 2015.

While Zulu Alpha Kilo has long had reputation for strong creative output, overseen by agency founder and creative head Zak Mroueh, the agency has been building up its production arm zulubot which launched in 2014. Lalka cited the production capabilities at Zulu Alpha Kilo as an important factor in its decision. While having in-house facilities was not required for agencies to take part in the review, having them in-house gave Zulu Alpha Kilo an edge, he said.

“Like every organization, we have a lot more channels through which we need to communicate our message,” he said. “And those in-house facilities provide us with some efficiencies that allow us to take advantage of those channels.”

“Every pitch I have ever been in, it comes down to chemistry,” said Zulu Alpha Kilo president Mike Sutton. “With Subaru, from the first meeting we had with them, I think the chemistry and shared values was the real connection point.”

What were those shared values? They’re both honest and straightforward about the business, they want to move fast, and they want to do breakthrough work, said Sutton.

Having the production capacity helps with those goals, he said.

Business moves fast these days and that’s particularly true for retail brands, said Sutton. “[They] have to move quickly to capitalize on opportunities while they are right in front of them,” he said. Zulu Alpha Kilo’s digital team now has six editing suites with two more in development and a photography studio in the office so it can produce and repurpose creative quickly and efficiently, said Sutton.

OMD has the Subaru media business, while Agency Rinaldi handles Quebec Dealer Association work.

David Brown