Maverick WCRS art director and founder Ron Collins dies at 72

Ron Collins who died on Monday aged 72 was best-known for his role as one of the founders of Wight Collins Rutherford Scott in 1979.

The agency was one of the leading lights of the 1980s in the UK and, like many of its peers, made a bid for world domination, buying the Carat media buying company and becoming Aegis.

This was a disaster but somehow the agency survived and is now the core of original co-founder Peter Scott’s Engine Group.

Art director Collins quit long before most of this happened, his only interest in floating on the Stock Exchange being the money. When he was asked what he was going to do with it he said: “get a divorce.”

As it turned out he left most of it invested in Aegis shares and, when they tanked, became embroiled in a long and costly dispute with his financial adviser Credit Suisse.

He also spent lavishly including buying Littleton House in Wiltshire which was the scene of the much-photographed attempted rapprochement between Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant when he was nabbed by the LAPD for cavorting in his car with hooker Divine Brown.

Collins made his reputation at Collett Dickenson Pearce in the 1970s where he was one of a number of extremely talented and very arrogant art directors. In those days CDP made the best ads and paid the best money for the best talent. And, boy, did they know it.

Perhaps his most famous campaign was for Cinzano featuring actors Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, directed by Alan Parker. Collins was never very good at taking a joke but he knew how to put them on screen.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


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    I wonder where Respect and Balance disappeared from Journalism. You may not like a man but you can respect the passing of another human without biting, nasty comments.
    This does not reflect the man, his creative genius and his warmth as a human being. He is and will be sadly missed by many.

  2. Avatar

    I am so discusted and sad to discover the way some people who called themselves journalists, can be so judgmental .
    This is criticism based on no true research regarding Ron.
    This is because of so narrow minded people that Ron Collins retired from this very shallow world of superficialities.
    Ron was a contemporary of David Hockney and Ridley Scott at the Royal College of Art.Ron spent almost 30 years creating ads in London’s leading agencies.
    Ron resigned fromWCRS.
    Ron had charm, a sense of honour, an integrity, humour, patience, intellgence, a fantastic creativity, a loving nature, a generosity and a humility that made him a very special person .
    These are Ron’s words:
    Have the courage to think for yourself.Trust your own convictions.
    Know yourself;that way you learn,that way you exercice your gift of free-will, to choose between what is right and what is wrong for you.
    Ron described himself as a peripheral visionary .
    The depth of this man,his avant gardiste mind make him one of those giant of this century.