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Virgin Trains pulls into go-go Anomaly

Anomaly appears to be on a roll, winning a big industry award in the US and Diet Coke and now its British outpost is reported to have won Virgin Trains against pretty stiff competition from Grey, Lucky Generals and Y&R.

Anomaly US’s new Super Bowl blockbuster for Budweiser will air at the weekend which should also help Carl Johnson’s construct rise up the client agenda.

Virgin Trains is an interesting one. Its last campaign ‘Bound for Glory’ was truly horrible but, like all aspects of the Virgin brand empire it’s never knowingly undersold. So there is at least the chance of an agency making a positive impact.

Anomaly knows a bit about trains of course, handling the ‘I Am Train’ campaign for booking service Trainline. Grey is keeping its head above water in the post-‘Grexit’ era (the departure of creative supremo Nils Leonard and colleagues to do their own thing – apparently Nils is still toiling out his notice), winning Marks & Spencer from Y&R in a closed WPP pitch. But it lost Vodafone to another WPP sibling, Ogilvy, so Virgin Trains would have been timely.

Lucky Generals has a good record in winning such mid-sized accounts (probably the biggest it can hope for until it finally ties up with international operator Omnicom) while Y&R, in its RKCR guise, used to be a Virgin favourite as RKCR founder MT Rainey reminded us the other day. It lost Virgin Atlantic to adam&eveDDB a while ago. Apparently the Y&R team turned up to the Virgin Trains pitch with travel cases sporting the new Y&R LDN (for London) logo. Maybe they should have saved them for another crack at Virgin Atlantic.

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Paul Simons adds

I was wondering if I possess the kiss of life?

A few weeks ago I singled out Anomaly and Droga 5 as examples of US agencies finding the UK challenging and almost immediately Anomaly was voted Agency of the Year by Ad Age (for its performance in the US admittedly) and Droga 5 announces a global win in London with Danone. Now Anomaly wins Virgin Trains.

The glass half empty version is I don’t know what I’m talking about or being charitable, the glass half full version is about instinctive vision!

I could start charging say five per cent of pre-tax profit based on the most recent audited accounts for a written critique and prognosis.

I would further predict both D5 and Anomaly will be good for the UK ad scene if they can leverage both opportunities creatively.

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