Jack picks ZAK

May 02, 2011  |  Matt Semansky  |  Comments

Restaurant chain Jack Astor’s has selected Toronto’s Zulu Alpha Kilo as its new agency of record, a move that reunites the company with creative director Zak Mroueh.
The agency will handle advertising, digital, brand identity, point-of-sale and social media duties for Jack Astor’s.
Mroueh had worked on the  Jack Astor’s brand when he worked as chief creative officer at Toronto ad shop Taxi, which he left in 2007 to launch Zulu. His relationship with the Jack Astor’s marketing team helped Zulu win the account and become the restaurant’s first AOR since it parted with Taxi in mid-2009.
“It was the reason I gave [Mroueh] a call, obviously – our history,” said George Kakaletris, vice-president of marketing and branding at SIR Corp., the restaurant’s corporate parent. “When I saw what he’s done with his new shop, I was very impressed.”
“He is a very talented and grounded individual and I think his track record speaks for itself.”
Kakaletris said he had intended to initiate a formal review process, but after having discussions with five Toronto-area agencies in the past six months, he felt Zulu was the best fit.
“[Zulu Alpha Kilo] has heavied-up in some key areas we were looking at, including social media,” said Kakaletris.
Mroueh said he was looking forward to reconnecting with what he called a “playful” brand.
“I jumped at the chance to work with George again,” Mroueh said. “Creatively, there’s a lot of potential for this brand to do some unconventional things.”
Zulu Alpha Kilo will also handle French-language duties. However, Kakaletris said that, with just three of its 32 locations in Quebec, Jack Astor’s would continue to focus primarily on the English-speaking market, particularly the Greater Toronto Area.
Kakaletris said the split with Taxi was amicable and resulted from SIR Corp. pulling back from advertising initiatives during the recession. Taxi has since picked up rival chain Boston Pizza as a client and thus was not among the agencies Kakaletris approached.

Zulu’s work is expected to launch in the fall.

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