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.