BMW drops WCRS and steers into FCB Inferno

It’s been a pretty quiet post-Cannes week up to now but BMW has livened things up somewhat by dropping long-time agency WCRS, according to Campaign.

UnknownBMW was WCRS’s founding client way back in 1979. The agency began with a dreadful ad featuring Kirk Douglas but then went on to produce the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ platform, surely the best car advertising over the period. Lately the campaign has lost its zing as BMW has mucked around with alternatives like the ill-fated ‘Joy’ campaign which emanated in the US.

The business goes to FCB Inferno, the UK marriage of Interpublic-owned FCB (Draftfcb as was) and former middle-ranking indie agency Inferno. FCB inferno saw off competition from BMB, Sapient/Nitro and Soul as well as WCRS owner engine Group. Not really the kind of list you’d expect for arguably the world’s most successful carmaker but many of the more obvious candidate are already spoken for (Adam&Eve/DDB with VW, AMV/BBDO with Mercedes, BBH with Audi and Wieden+Kennedy with Honda).

It’s a big challenge for FCB inferno but IPG agencies across the piece are on a roll following a number of key management changes including the installation of Carter Murray as worldwide boss of FCB and Lee Garfinkel as creative chief of its New York agency. FCB will presumably be eyeing BMW’s US account.

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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.


  1. Avatar

    Obviously we don’t know what lies behind this review however it seems like the sad passing of one of the very rare, long running, truly great brand assets in the car world. ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ is bound to live on for many years to come in the UK in the language. I’m sure WRCS will hold a wake at the appropriate time. My hat goes off to WRCS for their work which I have admired over the years.

  2. Avatar

    Something something ‘new broom’, something something ‘new agency’ …
    Something something ‘baby’, something something ‘bathwater’ …