Matthew Miller
Feb 19, 2020

Wain Choi joins Toronto creative shop Zulu Alpha Kilo

Former Cheil creative head returns to his native land to join an independent with global ambitions.

Wain Choi
Wain Choi

Wain Choi, the former chief creative officer and SVP of Cheil Worldwide, is joining Zulu Alpha Kilo, an independent Toronto creative agency, as ECD.

The move is a homecoming for Choi, who got his start as an art director in Toronto. He was most recently chief creative officer and EVP at CJ Live City in Seoul, leading a team building a theme park designed for creative minds. In addition to Cheil, he has also worked with Ogilvy, Y&R, and Dentsu, and has been responsible for brands including Coca-Cola, Ford, GM, Nike, Samsung and Toyota F1.

Zulu Alpha Kilo, founded in 2008, employs 135 people but has an outsized reputation for creative work on behalf of clients including Subaru, Bell Canada, Harley-Davidson, Whirlpool and Tim Hortons. The shop is also well-known for its irreverent series of videos skewering the ad industry, as well as its own website, which parodies other agencies' websites. 

While it may be quirky, "Zulu has major global aspirations," Zak Mroueh, the agency's founder, chief creative officer and CEO, told Campaign Asia-Pacific by email. But finding the right ECD to help achieve that ambition after the previous one departed took a long while—and more than 30 interviews.

"The plan was always to hire an ECD," Mroueh said. "It just took us three years instead of three months. No one is more thrilled than me to have Wain join as my creative partner. We have a global creative mandate, and I know Wain’s experience will help us take our work to another level. With me being a writer by trade and Wain being an art director originally, it’s the perfect creative partnership."

Mroueh took on the ECD role in the interim, leaning heavily on his group CDs and CDs "who did an amazing job in helping manage the workload and growth we’ve had over the past three years".

Choi said in a release that he's been following Zulu’s work from abroad and appreciates its "fearless entrepreneurial spirit". "I’m excited to help bring Zulu’s audacious creative vision to life,” he added.

A frequent winner and judge at all the major award shows, some of Choi's best-known, award-winning campaigns include Samsung's Look At Me app for children with autism and the Heat Tech Window project for Uniqlo. Both campaigns won at Cannes Lions, D&AD and One Show.

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