To handle a key market for its new global Infiniti business, MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky has turned to a rival, albeit one from the same holding company.
Until Crispin opens an office in Shanghai, China, Anomaly's office there will create ads for the region. The move is unusual, as Anomaly competed against Crispin for Infiniti's global account. But the luxury auto brand has immediate needs and high growth expectations in China, and starting an office takes time.
As such, Anomaly will handle the China portion of the account for at least a year—and possibly longer—until Crispin sets up shop. The account sharing also illustrates the imperfect choice that Infiniti faced when it selected Crispin instead of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to take on its global business. Goodby has no overseas offices and Crispin has just a few, in London; Copenhagen, Denmark; Gothenburg, Sweden; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the end, though, Crispin will get by with a little help from a frenemy.
Beyond the MDC connections, Infiniti vp of global marketing Vincent Gillet noted a "genuine cultural fit and respect between CP + B and Anomaly."
There's also, of course, a revenue benefit to Anomaly, whose Shanghai office employs about 40 people and is led by CEO Eric Lee, executive creative director Elvis Chau and chief strategy officer Richard Summers. Other accounts include Budweiser, Converse and Pepsi, for which it Mirinda, a citrus soda brand. The office opened in 2013.
In explaining the partnership with Crispin, Anomaly global CEO Carl Johnson cited an affinity with the car brand, its leadership and Crispin. "We are therefore delighted to help our sister agency in the first year or two as they set up operations in Shanghai," Johnson said.
Crispin CEO international Richard Pinder said the account sharing was borne of "trusting people rather than structures," adding that Anomaly Shanghai's leaders "know the market well, the issues." Besides, he added, "it doesn't take a rocket scientist to find out that when you're in the car business, China is kind of important."