ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: Agency OF THE WEEK: WCRS

Creating distinctive, effective advertising is one thing. Creating a brand is another. While a client expects its agency to do the former, few campaigns achieve the latter. WCRS’s work for Orange is one of those rarities.

Creating distinctive, effective advertising is one thing. Creating a

brand is another. While a client expects its agency to do the former,

few campaigns achieve the latter. WCRS’s work for Orange is one of those

rarities.



The latest commercial, ‘Kites’, enters Adwatch this week. Stylish, with

a soundtrack of Kathleen Ferrier’s Blow The Wind Southerly, it is, first

and foremost, Orange - a fact which does not surprise marketing director

Lisa Gernon, who collected Brand of the Year at this year’s ITV awards.



‘We fell in love with the film straight away. It is simple and calming

but carries several messages. WCRS are part of our team, realising our

needs and sharing the issues which worry us.’



WCRS is certainly on a roll this year, winning several new accounts and

losing none - quite an achievement for an agency with a reputation as a

great pitching machine but something of a leaky bucket when it comes to

holding on to business.



Now, the agency appears to have attained a new stability. It survived a

watershed two years ago, when it lost key players (Andrew Robertson,

Amanda Walsh and Al Tilby to name but three) and big accounts including

Prudential, Sega and Thomson.



Last year consolidation was its priority, ensuring everyone was well-

served by the agency which earned the nickname ‘Superstars’ when it was

set up in 1979.



Chief ‘Superstar’ Robin Wight is the only ‘initial’ still active at the

agency. His appointment of Stephen Woodford as managing director 18

months ago has helped rid the agency of the edgy, confrontational

atmosphere, which has dogged it since day one, while retaining its

energetic, intelligent culture.



Earlier this year Woodford combined the client services and new business

roles by appointing Simon Toaldo as marketing director.



Toaldo describes his job as ‘making sure the WCRS brand is appropriately

delivered to existing and prospective clients’.



The WCRS brand is all about making clients’ brands famous. From ‘I bet

he drinks Carling Black Label’, through four successful privatisation

campaigns, to ‘If anyone can, Canon can’, the agency has lived up to

Robin Wight’s doctrine of ‘interrogating the product until it confesses

its strength’.



A founding partner in the Havas-owned Campus network, WCRS could find

the late-90s a period of huge growth. But then again, with WCRS as with

any superstar, unpredictability is both a strength and a weakness.



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WCRS

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Billings (Projected 1995): pounds 150m

New business (1996): BMW-Worldwide, Asahi Lager,  Thistle Hotels, COI

Royal Mint, Quantel, Trebor   Bassett NPD

Key clients: Orange, BMW, First Direct, Bass, Canon, Trebor

Key people: Robin Wight (chairman), Stephen Woodford (managing

director), Larry Barker and Rooney Carruthers (joint creative

directors), Simon Toaldo (marketing director)

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