School Reports 2016: Anomaly London


After four years of floundering, Anomaly London finally seems to be swimming in the right direction.

Carl Johnson’s decision to hire M&C Saatchi’s Camilla Harrisson to replace Ben Moore at the top was undoubtedly the right one. Harrisson is proving herself a dynamic and capable leader, with the scrappy new-business nous that was needed.

It will shock no-one to learn that Moore didn’t stay long in his new role of director of global development, leaving the agency in March. But by the end of the year, staff numbers were up 80 per cent at the agency and Anomaly’s cozy Farringdon nook is starting to look a bit cramped.

The resurgence has meant that Oli Beale and Alex Holder – Anomaly’s joint executive creative directors who were perhaps better known for their extracurricular projects – now have a growing client list to demonstrate that there’s more to them than chaotic creativity.

The "Dream Goal" campaign for Budweiser – where amateur footballers get their goals analysed by pros – imaginatively positioned the US beer brand as a supporter of grassroots English football in a way that fans actually cared about and was commissioned for a second season.

Even the work for Trainline, a dry client by anyone’s standards, was funnier than it had any right to be, while Holder and Beale showed they could provoke responses other than laughter with their reality-TV-style campaign for Cancer Research UK and a gender-equality push for Elle.

Trainline and CRUK were both 2015 wins, as were Gordon’s, Lyst and Lego, putting paid to industry speculation that the London office still has no fee-paying clients. Another year of steady progress and Anomaly will be a contender.

How the agency rates itself: 7

"Bloody exciting. First, we won some amazing clients. And then it was about all the work."

Anomaly London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership MDC Partners
Nielsen billings 2015 £12m
Nielsen billings 2014 n/s
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 10
Accounts won 6 (biggest: Gordon’s, Trainline)
Accounts lost 0
Number of staff 35 (+80%)
Key personnel Camilla Harrisson, partner and chief executive
Stuart Smith, partner and chief strategy officer
Alex Holder, partner and executive creative director
Oli Beale, partner and executive creative director
Simon Robertson, head of comms strategy

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.