Anomaly Picks Up Beats By Dre, Opens Los Angeles Office

MDC Agency Will Handle Several Accounts Out of Its Latest Location

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Still from a recent Beats ad featuring Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green
Still from a recent Beats ad featuring Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green Credit: Beats by Dre/YouTube

Anomaly has been tapped by Apple's Beats by Dre to handle creative work after an agency search that began earlier in the year.

According to people familiar with the matter, the MDC Partners agency will be responsible for creative for the brand that could also include digital and experiential elements. The shop will handle the work out of its newly opened office in Los Angeles, these people said.

R/GA has been behind work for Beats since before it was acquired by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion. The Interpublic shop was not involved with the agency search and continues to work with Beats in the U.S. and in other international regions, according to someone familiar with the matter. After Apple acquired Beats, R/GA set up a Los Angeles-based conflict shop, Hustle, to service the Beats account, a move that came because R/GA also worked with key Apple rival Samsung.

It wasn't clear when work by Anomaly would launch, or the exact amount of work it would handle. It also wasn't immediately clear whether the company plans on increasing its marketing activity with Anomaly and R/GA both on the roster, or how it plans on dividing the scope of work. When the search began, one person said that the search is related to the company's intention to grow Beats, particularly internationally.

Anomaly and R/GA declined to comment. Beats did not respond to requests for comment.

Anomaly's new West Coast office is being run by Anomaly co-founder Carl Johnson, who is acting partner and CEO, along with Aisea Laungaue, who is partner and head of strategy. Mr. Laungaue was a strategy executive at Anomaly in New York before moving to a strategy role at CAA, where he was before moving back to Anomaly, according to his LinkedIn.

When Beats reached out to agencies earlier this year, a number of possibilities were on the table. People familiar with the matter said the move could result in a significant amount of work for one agency, or a few agencies could be tapped to handle various projects. Agencies could even be asked to supply ideas, but see another entity or Beats' internal team execute the work.

Also when the company reached out to agencies, execs with knowledge of it said the search was being overseen by Jason White, VP of marketing at Beats. These people said that Mr. White is taking on a larger role, though what that entails was not immediately clear. Mr. White joined Beats in May 2014, the month the Apple acquisition was announced. He previously worked at Wieden & Kennedy, where he had most recently been managing director of the Shanghai office. Before that he was global account director on the agency's all-important Nike account.

Omar Johnson, who has been Beats chief marketing officer since 2012, continues in that role, although his responsibilities are also expanding, according to executives familiar with the company. He will be more involved with Apple Music, the company's streaming service, while continuing to oversee Beats marketing. Apple Music was introduced in June 2015, replacing Beats Music.

Contributing: Alexandra Bruell

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