Zulu Alpha Kilo announced Wednesday it has hired Ari Elkouby as its newest creative director.
Most recently associate creative director at Proximity Canada, Elkouby joins a creative leadership team that includes Zulu president and executive creative director Zak Mroueh and fellow CDs Jon Webber, Shane Ogilvie and Mark Francolini.
Mroueh told Marketing that he has followed Elkouby’s career since first encountering him as an intern at Taxi in 2000 (“he had a real spark to him,” he recalled) to subsequent stops including FCB Canada, Fallon Worldwide in Minneapolis and Proximity, where he arrived in 2007 and played a role in the shop’s ongoing growth.
“For us it was about finding somebody that had the talent and the credentials, and that’s why we hired Ari,” said Mroueh.
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Mroueh went on to praise Elkouby as a “brilliant creative guy,” who has created standout work for marquee brands including Gillette and M&Ms (including the “Find Red” campaign that won bronze in Cannes in 2011.
At Proximity, Elkouby oversaw major accounts including Mars Canada and Pepsi Canada, along with HP and Gillette – global accounts that were run out of the Toronto office. His work with Gillette included “Gillette’s guide to body shaving,” a series of online videos providing shaving tips for various body regions that elicited a tweet from Nicole Richie as well as a mention on PerezHilton.com and a piece in The New York Times.
Mroueh said that the addition of Elkouby further strengthens Zulu’s already strong creative team. “This is probably one of the best teams I’ve ever worked with in terms of creative leadership,” he said.
While Elkouby has spent the majority of his career working in the digital realm, Mroueh said that his role at Zulu would encompass multiple disciplines. “We’re not trying to build a digital department, we’re trying to build a great offering that’s integrated,” he said. “At Zulu Ari is not just a digital guy – he’s working on some campaigns that are fully integrated where sometimes digital is part of it and sometimes it’s not. In past lives there was more of a silo when you’re a digital guy, where at Zulu he’s just one of the creative people.”
Elkouby will work with Webber on some projects, said Mroueh, but will not be assigned to any specific brands at Zulu.
Elkouby said that Zulu’s operating method was one of the things that attracted him to the Toronto shop, which has grown to people 54 people as it incorporates recent account wins including Audi and Corona.
“The opportunity to really create a legacy of great work and learn from Zak and the other CDs was a big draw for me,” said Elkouby. “I still have a lot to learn, and I’m here to do that from the best in the country.”