Text, Not Time

Like actors who one day hope to direct, agencies frequently talk the talk of wanting someday to own and leverage their own intellectual property. Anomaly, the New York-based online boutique, is walking the walk via a collaborative venture with PayPal Mobile that brings the virtual payment brand to wireless phones.

“Text to Buy” and “Text to Give” services enable account holders to pay for physical merchandise or make donations via a short code message to PayPal. Fox, Universal Music, Nike, and Unicef are charter merchants in the program.

Anomaly approached PayPal with the idea last year, and the two companies collaborated on development. Unlike most agencies, however, Anomaly gets paid for performance, not time. “Essentially our compensation is linked to total sales volumes,” says Jason Deland, a partner in Anomaly. “It’s 100 percent performance-based.” The agency’s plan is to be “compensated for our ideas,” he adds. In another recent venture, the company’s LuckyMedia property has created a new ad platform: promotions on the backs of lottery tickets.

Agencies have dreamed of spinning business models around their own properties for years, but Anomaly is trying to make the model its core business by cutting itself off from old practices. “The way you make that happen is you never sell time and never value work in time,” says Deland. “You value your ability to offer ideas and set up the structure to be rewarded for them.”

Anomaly’s next ideas will be flying in any day now, courtesy of a forthcoming collaboration with Virgin Airways that will also net the agency a piece of the upside.
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