So, our question from nearly two weeks ago has been answered as we’ve received confirmation that Wieden + Kennedy alum Sheena Brady has moved from Portland to New York to take on a job at Anomaly, which just picked up the NBC Sports Network business if you recall. We’re still getting exact title, etc., but we’re assuming it’s something pertaining to her bread ‘n butter, which is copywriting/creative directing. Some of the Gold Film Lion-winning creative’s most recent projects while at W+K include the Nike “Black Mamba” short.
So yes, there was a review for the NBC Sports Network, which will be the new name come January 2, 2012 for what is currently known as Versus (you know, the cable channel that shows some Stanley Cup playoff games and still airs Bloodsport every other day). From the looks of it, NBC Universal is ready to go head-to-head with ESPN so with NBC Sports Network, they will soon have their own 24/7 cable platform (as of January 2, you will also see a new NBC Sports logo).
With the launch of the new network, logo, etc., of course, comes the advertising part. As we mentioned, there was an agency review and from what our spies are telling us, BBDO, Droga5, Brooklyn Brothers, Mother and Anomaly all took part, but in the end, it was Anomaly that came out the winner. Anomaly has confirmed that there was a review and that it did participate, but referred all other inquiries to NBC Sports. We obliged and are waiting to hear back.
In July, we got word that UK indie rockers The Vaccines, record label Sony Music and agency Anomaly London were banding together to release the first Instagram crowdsourced music video for the new single, “Wetsuit.” Over 3000 images from 30 countries and one “epic summer” later, we have the finished product (above) in all of its super-hip, vintage-hued, square-shaped glory. We now have iPhone-produced photographic evidence that the summer of 2011 was almost exactly like the summer of 1971, right?
Okay, so maybe the idea of creating a music video using a social photo-sharing tool like Instagram sounded much better on paper than it looks in execution, but what were we expecting? Maybe it’s because the actual song for this video is kind of dull, but it feels a bit underwhelming, doesn’t it?
But, creating a visually groundbreaking music video wasn’t really the goal, as the Vaccines’ frontman Justin Young says in the announce, “This felt like the ultimate interaction. Instagram was suggested to give photos taken on people’s phone a nice warm feel. It’s great to be able to make the fans part of our art.” A look at the band’s Facebook page shows that fans’ reactions the video are overwhelmingly positive. After all, this wasn’t created for advertising bloggers; it was created for the Vaccines’ devoted fan base, who include seeing the band play live as a highlight of their summer. From this perspective, the social media experiment was wildly successful in the eyes of the intended target audience.
Despite a few tips we’ve received over the last few days saying otherwise, we’ve been told that no, New York-based digital shop Rokkan is not plotting to sell to Anomaly. A spokesperson tells us, “…there has not been any conversation about acquisition. We do work with Anomaly from time to time, but that’s really it.” So, guess that answers that for the time being.
In other news regarding Rokkan, which won digital AOR duties for Stoli a few months back (example of work here), the agency’s hired DailyCandy.com and Frog Design alum Heather Ricciardi as executive user experience director. As her new title implies, Ricciardi will help lead Rokkan’s UX team.
Apparently 16 hours or so is all it takes to get from Los Angeles to Vegas via skateboard according to this new Converse short film that promotes the Ka-One sneaker and comes to us, yet again, from New York’s Anomaly. After spending 2010 consorting with hip musical acts like Hot Chip, Vampire Weekend and Kid Cudi, the agency is turning its focus to the skater set with this clip starring pro Kenny Anderson.
Call it a day in the life if you will, but from the looks of it, Anderson, who seems to be balancing, gliding and riding on just the front end of his board throughout his entire interstate excursion, can rally the masses like Rocky running through the streets of Philly. The Converse branding is once again kept to a minimum during this road trip, which seems like no sweat off Anderson’s shoulders. Credits after the jump.
Miles Nadal & Co.’s acquisition spree continues as MDC Partners has now nabbed a majority partnership stake in Anomaly, the seven-year-old New York/London shop that counts clients such as Converse (recent work here), Umbro & Cole Haan, Budweiser, Sony, P&G, Pepsi, Motorola and Diageo.
With the acquisition, MDC plans to establish Anomaly bases in China, Brazil and mainland Europe. The latter shop’s co-founder, Carl Johnson, explains the reason for the deal in a statement, saying, “Given the degree of independence we have all become used to, it was essential that we are ‘fuelled’ not ‘controlled’ – MDC not only understands this but embraces it. Their ability to help foster growth while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit is incredibly important to the culture of Anomaly and consequently, makes MDC the perfect partner for us.”
Like everyone else in the business, we’ve been hungrily watching agencies dip into the world of intellectual property. We just spoke to the Brooklyn Brothers about their dabblings in intellectual property. We also spoke with Richie Grantham whose agency, Sarkissian Mason, is deep into digital IP.
Now, we see that Adweek has spoken with Anomaly who has long made IP a cornerstone of marketing for their agency. Anomaly has launched their latest spin-off business, i/denti/tee, which allows consumers to put the lyrics of their favorite song a eco-friendly t-shirt. With every purchase, buyers receive a code to download any 10 songs of your choice for free on iTunes. Not bad. This might actually work out.
Other Anomaly projects include: a shaving cream launched with Target, a mobile commerce application called ShopText and a partnership with Le Bernadin super chef Eric Ripert. The traditional side of the agency’s business include Converse and like everyone and their mother, Coke. Still, money man for the shop Carl Johnson calls these new businesses a stock portfolio, that has helped the agency recruit talent, clients and allowed their billing structure to shift to a percentage of sales. In this economy, it’s probably best to mix up the revenue streams, no?
Whether you hate or love the agency, you’ve got to give them props for going out on the limb and working this IP angle and like hard.
Okay, okay. We get it. And in case you don’t, read the words of Anomaly’s Johnny Vulkan from Boards:
“If you look back historically large agencies used to produce highly entrepreneurial deals for their clients and invent properties and products. All these things are coming around again. These aren’t new ideas, they’re just things that perhaps fell out of vogue as agencies and clients grew bigger. A conservatism sets in that only gets shaken up when economic shifts happen or technology changes radically. For the last 30 years we might have been able to say it’s [about] TV, radio, or posters. Now the answer can be anything.”
I sat down with this fine chap, Mr. Johnny Vulkan of Anomaly this morning for tea (well coffee actually). How to best describe this “company” can’t be done in one sentence, but I will say that the folks there have got something going on.
In the four years since its inception (by Carl Johnson), Vulkan said Anomaly has not stopped growing. But the growth is organic, atypical in some ways and traditional in others (although that’s my take). The structure is well planned and ad hoc all at once. That’s because Anomaly is absorbed in advertising culture (all the best aspects, said Vulkan) without being an ad shop. How so? Find out after the jump.
Last week, the rumblings that Anomaly had laid off some bodies were filtering through the Agency Spy psyche. And yet, today, the shop has announced that they’ve taken on a bigwig… of sorts. Anomaly has taken on design director Kevin Lyons who was working at Urban Outfitters as creative director. Agency co-founder Carl Johnson told Creativity that Lyons will bring a “real world perspective” to the shop’s design initiatives.
Lyons, oh-so humbly chimed in with: “I am the balance between creativity and the practical application of creativity.” You can check out Kevin’s website, here.