School Reports 2013: WCRS


Score: 6  Last year: 4

Once again, WCRS experienced a year of two halves that saw the agency end 2012 with much-improved creative work and a stable management team, but with account losses that seemed to negate any of the gains that it made.

Despite these losses, the Engine-owned agency managed to maintain a much-needed steady course after a tumultuous 2011.

At the end of 2011, WCRS promoted Billy Faithfull and Ross Neil to the roles of creative directors. While the duo work under the executive creative director, Leon Jaume, they seemed to be at the heart of the agency’s work, which included a campaign for Safestore that was impressive given that the account – a new one for WCRS – would not usually set creative pulses racing.

The agency’s other creative highlights included work for Churchill, Sky Broadband and a Sky+ stunt, featuring Jonathan Ross, that made viewers think the ad was rewinding on their screens.

In 2012, WCRS did well to land seven high-profile pieces of business, including the £8 million Warburtons ad account from the incumbent, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. The agency also won Yell’s ad business from Rapier, the aforementioned Safestore account, Now TV, HMRC and Boots International.

While new business was plentiful it was offset by some very high-profile losses. These included News International, which WCRS was unable to contest due to a closed pitch process within WPP, and Mini which was a hard-fought pitch for the agency.

The Andrex social media business, which was consolidated into JWT London, and Glenmorangie’s ad account were both resigned.

Despite the downsides of 2012, WCRS seems like an agency with a clear sense of direction and a more stable management team than it has had in recent years. It needs to focus on keeping its key accounts and on continuing to improve its creative product.

Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Engine
Key personnel Debbie Klein chairman
Matt Edwards chief executive
Billy Faithfull creative director
Ross Neil creative director
Nielsen billings 2012 £197m
Nielsen billings 2011 £190m
Declared income £16.4m (2011)
Total accounts at year end 19
Accounts won 7 (biggest: Warburtons)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: News International)
Number of staff 152 (+4%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

How WCRS rates itself: 6

"2012 was a year of new talent, new work and new clients. Our creative department has never been stronger and fired us to a series of pitch wins. The energy and confidence around the agency and our down-to-earth, can-do culture attracted top industry talent to join us. The result was a hugely varied creative output including the digital game of the year, Olympic documentaries, 3D stereoscopic cinema technology and even a successful World Record attempt."