The network, chaired by Carl Johnson (pictured), includes Y Media Labs, Mono, Hunter, Relevent and Concentric Health Experience
Johnson tells Ad Age that this decision does not stem from “a desire to have an integrated offering” but it’s rather a “people- and values-driven thing.” He says bundling capabilities to “have one of them, one of them and one of them,” is an “old model” that he called “lumbering.”
“The idea behind this is to try to take advantage of experienced agency leadership to help the success of MDC,” Johnson says, noting how inefficient it is for the holding company to manage “40-plus” separate shops. “These are the agencies I chose. I started with leaders I can relate to. Who’s got ambition? Who is smart and who do I want to be in the room with? Where does the growth lie?” he adds.
Y Media Labs is based in Silicon Valley and led by Co-Founder-CEO Ashish Toshniwal and Co-Founder-President Sumit Mehra. Hunter has headquarters in New York and London and is led by CEO-Partner Grace Leong and Partners Jonathan Lyon, Donetta Allen, Gigi García Russo and Erin Hanson. Minneapolis-based Mono is headed by Founders and Chief Creative Officers Michael Hart and Chris Lange and Founder and Managing Partner Jim Scott. Relevent is located in New York and led by CEO-Founder Tony Berger.
Combined, the new network houses 1,400 employees (Anomaly staffs 850 of those people). Johnson says his role as chair of the “alliance” will be to “provide counsel, rather than getting into the details of their operations.” He says the network’s agencies will be able to lean on the talent and capabilities of each other, as needed. For example, Johnson says Anomaly partners with Hunter on its Diageo business and is working with Y Media Labs on “intellectual property development.”
In December, MDC also announced a new network led by Doner, and chaired by its CEO, David DeMuth. That network includes PR firm Veritas; shopper marketing agency 6Degrees Integrated Communications; brand and ad shop Yamamoto; creative, technology and media agency Union; brand strategy and digital PR firm KWT Global; and luxury and lifestyle PR agency HL Group.
Johnson notes that the recent Anomaly-led alliance will likely not be the last.
The formation of these networks coincide with MDC Chairman and CEO Mark Penn’s grand vision to consolidate real estate and foster greater collaboration among the holding company’s various agencies that also include 72andSunny, Forsman & Bodenfors and CPB. Penn took over MDC following a $100 million equity investment by Stagwell Group—the advertising, PR and data analytics holding company Penn founded in 2015—in the holding company last March.
Penn has been tasked with reducing costs and leading a turnaround at MDC, which faces $1 billion in debt. MDC’s stock fell 12 percent after the company reported in November a decline of 8.8 percent in revenue for its most-recent third quarter and revised its organic revenue expectations for the full year to anticipate a decline of 3 percent to 5 percent. MDC has not yet announced when its fourth-quarter earnings will be released.
Source: Ad Age