Anomaly is the creative boutique established by former TBWA global COO Carl Johnson and five partners in 2004. Jointly headquartered in New York and London, it likes to describe itself as a "new model" agency. Advertising is just one of the disciplines practised by the company, which has also dabbled successfully in product design, public relations and numerous other fields. It also partners with several entrepreurial start-ups, offering advice and expertise in return for equity investments. Although it tended to focus for several years on smaller, often more offbeat brands, the agency moved into the big time at the end of 2009 with the capture of the European marketing account for Sony (until 2012). Other international clients have followed. Global Johnnie Walker was a major win at the end of 2014, and the agency has continued to scale up steadily with a string of major additional account gains. In 2016 it won all 14 new business pitches for which it competed, earning the title of Agency of the Year from AdAge. MDC Partners acquired a majority stake in the agency in 2011, and the agency opened an additional office in Amsterdam later the same year. Toronto followed in 2012, and then Shanghai from late 2013; and more recently Berlin and Los Angeles. It operates several satellite units including Hispanic agency Last Silo, launched in 2016. Johnson became global chairman in 2018, passing over the role of CEO to Karina Wilsher, previously COO. Co-founder Mike Byrne is chief creative officer. AdAge estimated global revenues of $142m in 2017, making it the 3rd biggest unit within MDC Partners behind 72&Sunny and CP&B.
Capsule checked 11th April 2018
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Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Social Media 9th Apr 2019: "Strong Heart". Ancestry has a nice new campaign out in Canada from Anomaly, recasting the idea of family research as a quest for historical drama. That's perfectly justified since most of our ancestors' stories were considerably more dramatic than our own. That's just one of the ways in which our modern world has changed. There are three stories to choose from, and they're all beautifully realised. The other two feature an inter-racial elopement and escape from crushing poverty in Ireland.
Adbrands Social Media 25th Feb 2019: "The Name is the Idea". Anomaly's new ad for Ally Bank - what used to be GM Financial - is cute, but would have had considerably more impact had it not followed so closely in the footsteps of AT&T's 'Just OK is Not OK' campaign which debuted last month. They're basically the same idea. Both campaigns even have near-identical sushi, tattoo, babysitter and mechanic gags. That's probably just an unfortunate accident of timing; but all things considered it might have been better if Ally had postponed this campaign and tried something else instead. Surely this wasn't the only idea Anomaly presented. Still, putting all that to one side, it's a funny idea, with some clever vignettes.
Adbrands Social Media 5th Feb 2019: "Unicorns / Kelp". Much more fun than its ad for Turkish Airlines (posted here earlier) is Anomaly's great set of spots for UK-based green energy supplier Bulb, animated by prodco Blinkink. There are three films in all, featuring attention-grabbing colours, charming animation, great scripts and lovely voiceover work from comedy partners Tim Key and Ellie White. In a market stuffed with over-ambitious, often over-earnest untilities marketing, Bulb's quirky, offbeat approach really cuts through. We love them!
Adbrands Social Media 5th Feb 2019: "The Journey". It's been hard to ignore the advance hype over Ridley Scott's return to the advertising business. Commercials is of course where this most revered of directors first made his name, but he hasn't made one himself for more than 15 years. Yet Anomaly were able to persuade him to get back in the driving seat for an extended film for Turkish Airlines. With the greatest respect, he needn't have bothered. Despite lavish production values, and a strong performance from 'Blade Runner 2049' assassin Sylvia Hoeks, the result is a handsome bore. Hoeks is some kind of spy in pursuit of a mysterious stranger, who leads her through every single one of Istanbul's top tourist attractions over the course of six minutes for no apparent reason. It all looks gorgeous but the script piles up cliché upon cliché - at one point she even jumps into a taxi and tells the driver to "Follow that car!" - and the succession of blatant plugs for Kempinski's Ciragan Palace hotel (oops, there's another one) are simply ridiculous. A straight travelogue would have been fine; a pure spy movie would also have been fine. But never the twain should meet.
Adbrands Social Media 31st Oct 2018: "Sheep Meeting". We're sheep aficionados at Adbrands.net, so Anomaly's quirky campaign for new age shoe brand Allbirds was guaranteed a receptive audience here. These particular kicks are made from superfine merino wool, but the agency has another ad out featuring shoes made from trees (though some explanation of just how that can be would be welcome). It's a cute idea, suitably off-beat for what is clearly an unusually environmentally aware manufacturer.
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