- Forte Hotels and the Debenhams department store joined the ranks of WCRS clients this week, adding £10 million to the agency's billings tally.
Forte chose WCRS to take its Posthouse and Heritage brands back on television for the first time in six years following a head-to-head pitch with Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe for the business.
The move follows Granada's high profile acquisition of Forte in 1996 and the appointment of new marketing director, Suki Kalirai, earlier this year. Around £6 million has been earmarked for TV commercials this year, in addition to a print, public relations and direct marketing blitz.
Until now, advertising for each of Forte's hotel brands had been handled by separate agencies, including Bartle Bogle Hegarty and the Manchester shop, Redman Jones & Partners. Media, which is currently with New PHD, is unaffected by the consolidation.
Forte's third hotel chain, Meridien, is largely international, and a campaign is not expected in the short term for this brand.
Meanwhile, details were scarce about the project which WCRS has picked up for Debenhams, the department store chain which demerged from its Burton Group parent this January. To date, it has handled most of the creative element on its £7 million advertising in house, while media has been bought by TMD Carat. TMD's role is not affected by the WCRS appointment.
Robin Wight, chairman of WCRS, called the Forte win a "tremendous compliment". However, he declined to give any information on Debenhams, save to confirm the announcement by Terry Green, Debenham's chief executive, that the agency would be working with the store chain on a "project to help build the Debenhams franchise."