Type of agency
Number of UK staff
Last year, Campaign wrote that if WCRS could add creative prowess to its new-business savvy, then 2015 would be a great year for the agency. The Engine-owned shop certainly made good with "the deliverers" for Warburtons, an epic ad starring Sylvester Stallone as a Bolton baker/action hero. This was followed up with a Christmas ad, "The Giant Crumpet Show" featuring The Muppets, which proved a nice antidote to the widespread festive schmaltz... Read more
Few UK agencies and their founding fathers can be said to have reflected each other’s persona more accurately than WCRS and Robin Wight.
One of adland’s last surviving dandies, Wight is as indefatigable now as he was in 1979 when he launched the then Wight Collins Rutherford Scott.
The partners invited to help him put his passionate ideas about the business into practice were Peter Scott, then the managing director of the Marsteller agency in London, and two creatives – Andrew Rutherford from Saatchi & Saatchi and Ron Collins from Collett Dickenson Pearce.
Since that time, the agency has been responsible for some of Britain’s most memorable campaigns – from “the ultimate driving machine” for BMW to Sky’s “believe in better” and “the future’s bright, the future’s Orange”.
Along the way, though, the ride was often bumpy, which was hardly surprising given Wight’s seemingly chaotic style and his restless energy.
Despite producing work of consistent quality, WCRS has a history of winning and losing business in spectacular fashion. Indeed, Wight once admitted that the agency’s inconsistency “has some echo in my own divided personality”.
Maybe it also goes some way to explaining WCRS’s complex history and ownership. It was part of the Havas-owned Arnold Worldwide Partners network until 2004 when the agency’s management team bought back their independence.
The agency’s new status sparked the acquisition of a string of marketing services companies embracing interactive, branded content, sponsorship and direct marketing. A parent group, Engine, was created as the umbrella for these different units.
The expansion evoked memories of WCRS’s early history when it aspired to become one of the world’s largest marketing groups. The WCRS international network was later split out to form the entirely separate media services group Carat.
Today, with Engine having been acquired by the US private equity investor Lake Capital, WCRS has become a building-block in the creation of a new middle-tier marketing services group.