When it rains it pours at Anomaly. Not just in new wins or the evolution of its internal culture. Last summer it happened quite literally: On June 28, the 15 thousand-gallon water tower perched atop Anomaly’s offices in New York’s SoHo neighborhood burst an elbow pipe and flooded the agency’s tenth and eleventh floors.
Nimble by design, the agency innovated on the fly: The two floors were evacuated for months, with 110 employees displaced. About half the staff was able to find a space on other floors during reconstruction, and 60 had to float from available desk to couch to bar.
“It was a Red Bull shot in terms of culture,” says Franke Rodriguez, CEO of Anomaly’s New York and Toronto offices.
Not that Anomaly needed it. Already a five-time A-List honoree (and 2017 Agency of the Year), the agency continues to outpace its peers in the way it combines business acumen with creativity. And to hear its executives describe it, we haven’t seen anything yet.
“My view of 2018 is that we prepared for it in 2013, ’14, ’15. The influence of what we’re doing now should be felt in 2022,” says co-founder and partner Jason DeLand. “It’s difficult to look at a business like Anomaly in a year-to-year, 12-consecutive-month window. We’re trying to stay four steps ahead of everyone else.”
Some advances are quantifiable, though. Anomaly won three out of three pitches in 2018: Ally Bank, Booking.com and Petco. It turned down Walmart because it wasn’t a fit, says Rodriguez. It continued to hone its product-development chops. In 2016 it famously launched Hmblt (since renamed Dosist), cannabis pens that deliver targeted health benefits to consumers. In 2018, Dosist—coming to a state where weed is legal near you!—expanded into Canada and announced a launch in Florida.
Anomaly also responded to existing client Johnnie Walker’s brief by “calling an audible,” according to co-founder, partner and Executive Chairman Carl Johnson. Beyond simply developing content for the brand, Anomaly, in collaboration with Diageo, turned Johnnie Walker into “Jane Walker” to celebrate International Women’s Day. The limited-run whiskey had a release of 300,000 units, which sold out almost immediately and netted 1.5 billion earned impressions in four days, the agency says.