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Anomaly wins Ad Age Agency of the Year and Diet Coke

I see that Anomaly has been voted Ad Age’s Agency the Year in an ‘A List’ that includes some newbies (for us anyway) as well as better known names including McCann, Wieden+Kennedy, R/GA and BBDO.

Anomaly, co-founded in 2004 by Carl Johnson of Simons Palmer Clemmow Denton and Johnson fame (think I’ve got that right Paul, always was a tongue-twister) is the shining light in MDC Partners, which bought 60 per cent in 2011. It now has six offices (including London) and a blue chip client list. As its name suggests, it zags while others zig (or, perhaps, zigs first) being paid on performance, investing in intellectual property and pursuing a policy of diversity, in its work as well as people.

It’s won lots of new business in the past year, an Eddie Jones-like 14 out of 14, and has just picked up Diet Coke, formerly handled by similar-ish Droga5.

And the work is, mostly, good. It took over Diageo’s Johnnie Walker account from BBH a couple of years ago and promptly produced a real clunker starring Jude Law. But for Election Day in the US last year it went back to BBH’s ‘Keep Walking’ campaign theme with some help from Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land.’

Which shows sense as well as style. Whether or not Woody’s vision survives Trump is another matter.

Quoted MDC, which also owns Crispin Porter and 72andSunny as well as Anomaly and numerous others, is permanently in the dog house, resolutely refusing to make a profit although Anomaly doubtless does. MDC has now got rid of high profile, high spending founder and CEO Miles Nadal so maybe there is some joy around the corner.

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But it’s good to see a brave outfit like Anomaly succeeding. In part by realising that, among all the ‘alternative’ ways of communicating and brand building, good old advertising still plays a key role.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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