Anomaly would have arrived in The Netherlands eventually. The backing of MDC Partners just made it happen faster.
This week, the 7-year-old agency opens its third office (after New York and London) in Amsterdam, with hiring of Hazelle Klonhammer as managing director. A native of Australia and former group account director at the Amsterdam office of Wieden + Kennedy, Klonhammer most recently was md of Grey Amsterdam. She starts Anomaly Amsterdam with no clients and the charge of building a management team that will include a chief creative officer and heads of strategy and technology.
Anomaly, which launched in New York in 2004 and expanded to London in 2009, picked Amsterdam as its third market because it’s home to world class talent and major marketers like Nike, Diageo and Shell. (The first two are already Anomaly clients; the third is not.) Moreover, the multi-cultural city feels more connected to the rest of Europe than London.
“London is a unique market packed with talent but it is not as instinctively continental as a place like Amsterdam,” said Anomaly co-founder Carl Johnson. “However, we would expect all of our offices to collaborate together.” Anomaly’s expansion comes nine months after MDC acquired a 60 percent stake in the agency. A key driver of that deal was Anomaly’s desire to build a global network with a smattering of offices in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia.
With relatively few dots on the map, Anomaly’s network will look a lot more like Wieden + Kennedy’s and Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s than JWT’s or BBDO’s. Just how many dots, however, remains to be seen. “At the moment, there are only really two models out there,” Johnson said. “There’s the very traditional, ‘I’ve got 200 offices: one flag in every country across the world’ mega-networks or there’s the other micro-network where you’ve got five or six or seven offices. I’m not certain that we will end up following either of those paths completely.”
With Amsterdam off the ground, Anomaly now is eyeing Brazil, with hopes of opening there next year. China is another country that Johnson covets, though he acknowledges that setting up shop there can be tricky, given the peculiarities of that market. But again, having a backer like MDC should help.
“It’s a plan from why we did the deal,” said Johnson. “It’s our desire having spent a few years building this to a critical mass in New York, exploring a couple of years in London, doing well and therefore going, ‘Okay, we get this. We know what our mothership looks like. We know what an international office looks like and how they relate. Now, we’ll put the foot down and expand to a few more offices.’”