BMW shuns WCRS for global ad push

WCRS has lost its pounds 15 million role as BMW’s global brand agency less than two years after winning the assignment in a blaze of publicity.

WCRS has lost its pounds 15 million role as BMW’s global brand

agency less than two years after winning the assignment in a blaze of


The agency was appointed to create the car manufacturer’s first major

worldwide campaign in June 1996, with the implication that it would also

become lead creative agency for the company (Campaign, 14 June


But the agency has now been forced to relinquish its role after an

internal review involving other BMW roster agencies.

WCRS was eliminated from the pounds 15 million review after making

first-round pitches. BMW would not reveal which shops have been

shortlisted, but confirmed that talks were taking place with several

other retained suppliers. BMW’s main roster agencies are WCRS in the UK,

Fallon McElligott in the US and Scholz & Friends in the important home

market of Germany.

The prize is creative control of a prestigious international press

campaign, originally conceived to help unify BMW’s image globally. Last

year’s strategy from WCRS led to a series of ads reinforcing BMW’s

position as a high-performance brand. It featured an eclectic mixture of

items that supposedly inspired the car’s engineering, with one execution

showing a fingerprint as the inspiration behind the BMW key.

A BMW spokesman confirmed that WCRS had been eliminated from the review,

but said that the rethink was part of an annual reassessment of the


He added: ’All that’s decided is that WCRS will not be in charge of the

campaign for the next year. But it might be involved in other

international projects. We would always consider it.’

Robin Wight, chairman of WCRS, confirmed that the agency was not

involved in any international projects but said he was talking to the

client about new briefs. He added: ’It’s true that we’re not doing the

next round of the brand campaign because BMW is rotating it around its

agencies. But that is what it has always done. It passes on the


WCRS first won the BMW business in the UK in 1980. Since then, the

account has grown under the stewardship of Wight, who has been a board

adviser to BMW’s parent company, the Rover Group.


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