At first glance, it might seem like the Anomaly didn't have much to brag about in 2013: It didn't win a massive account and it didn't pick up a host of awards it could parade around. It didn't win the PlayStation pitch and it was a runner-up in the Smirnoff review.
But the shop's growth strategy has never included winning headline-grabbing pitches. "Pitches are always suspect, we don't like to do them," said Jason DeLand, founding partner at Anomaly. "The justification of our model is effectiveness. That's really the focus: clients' growth as opposed to the traditional new-business machine."
Its clients certainly did grow, and that helped the agency to a big year as well. Anomaly's U.S. and global revenue and headcount all grew 25%, and it expanded into Asia. In all, the shop has grown 350% in three years.
It also produced the best commercial on the year's biggest ad stage. The emotional Budweiser Super Bowl spot -- a Clydesdale coming-of-age story soundtracked by Fleetwood Mac -- topped USA Today's 2013 Ad Meter and was the third-most shared Super Bowl spot ever. Its work for the brand has bumped Bud to the No. 3 beer advertiser (from No. 8 in 2012), according to preliminary results from ad-effectiveness measurement firm Ace Metrix. The shop also worked with Dick's Sporting Goods, the nation's largest sports retailer, on a brand transformation that helped it notch 5% revenue growth last year.
But if there's one relationship that exemplifies Anomaly's philosophy of focusing on growing its client's business, it's its longest-standing one: Converse. Since 2006, it's helped the brand evolve from a $305 million dollar Nike acquisition to a global marketer with a 17% sales bump in 2013.
Last year the agency launched "Shoes are boring. Wear sneakers," which now runs in 70 markets around the world and helped the brand to its best sales year yet. The shop also helped Converse become the 9th largest brand on social media.
Part of that growth is due to the brand's ability to stay on top of youth culture in markets globally. "Anomaly keeps us informed and up to date and focused in it, and they help us connect to in unique ways," said Geoff Cottrill, VP-general manager of brand and segments at Converse.
Anomaly's true passion is its own brands and intellectual property, such as Eos, which in 2013 became the best-selling lip balm in the U.S., outselling market leader ChapStick. As a follow-up to its Emmy-winning cooking show, "Avec Eric" with Eric Ripert, the agency co-created and co-produced "On the Table with Eric Ripert," which launched in December on the Esquire Channel.
"Agencies dabble in IP because they think it's cool, but we want to build something that lasts," said Mr. DeLand. "It's not easy, but it's starting to take off."