WCRS 1979-1999: Introduction

Is WCRS the biggest small agency, or the smallest big agency? This question, taken from a Campaign article after our Camelot win last year, came very close to describing the paradox, almost schizophrenia, that is at the heart of WCRS.

Is WCRS the biggest small agency, or the smallest big agency? This

question, taken from a Campaign article after our Camelot win last year,

came very close to describing the paradox, almost schizophrenia, that is

at the heart of WCRS.



The agency still feels like a start-up, 20 years on. We still feel we

have much to prove and that our best years lie ahead of us.



We’re big enough to handle the UK’s largest brand in the National

Lottery and to run global campaigns on behalf of clients like Land

Rover, but we’re just as likely to compete for new business with some of

the more radical new breed of agencies.



Much of this restlessness and energy emanates from Robin Wight, as does

much of our character as an agency.



This supplement, more than anything else, is a tribute to all he has

achieved over the last 20 years. Many others have played major roles,

but Robin is the constant factor. And whether his bow-tied, loud-suited

image is to your taste or not, I hope that you’ll admire the work we’ve

produced; work that has helped build some of the best brands of the last

two decades.



My own first contact with WCRS was in the early 80s, via a school

friend, Phil Reedy, whose job as an art director I envied terribly.



Not just because of the work he’d already done by his mid-twenties, on

BMW and the epic ’Blazing Saddles’ spoof for Carling, but also, if I’m

honest, because of the confidence and style the whole agency projected,

especially as manifested in the agency bar, the infamous ’Duck & Weave’,

in the basement at Great Queen Street. All this seemed exceptionally

glamorous compared to my own humble existence as a Unilever account

drone in the then dreary environs of Lintas.



The bar still remains the heart of the agency, transplanted to the

glories of Golden Square in spring two years ago. Not because of the

occasional, ill-advised drinking escapades that maintain its notoriety,

but because it represents the communal spirit, the subversiveness, the

long hours that people willingly put in (at least they seem willing to

me).



So the secrets of 20 years of success in advertising really do confirm

the worst stereotypes of the industry: a mad bloke with a bow tie on the

top floor and a bar in the basement. It’s that simple.



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