WCRS was until recently a highly regarded full service agency, based in London. Until 2004, it was part of the Havas-owned Arnold Worldwide network. The agency's management team bought back their independence that year, and WCRS added to its resources with the acquisition of a string of marketing services companies involved in interactive, branded content, sponsorship and direct marketing. Parent group Engine was created as the umbrella for these different units, becoming a broadly integrated group offering a complete range of interlinked marketing services. In 2019, most of the group's various subsidiaries including WCRS were merged under the umbrella Engine name. Recent expansion has revived memories of WCRS's early history. For a while, in the late 1980s, the agency aspired to become one of the world's largest marketing groups. The WCRS international network was later split out to form what is now the entirely separate media services business Carat. In 2014, US private equity investor Lake Capital acquired Engine Group, with a view to building up a new middle-tier marketing services holding company. There have been several restructurings of the collection of satellite businesses in recent years. One of the cornerstone units is CRM agency Partners Andrews Aldridge. More recent additions include creative and digital agencies Deep Focus and Trailer Park, and PR and activation units Slice, Mischief and MHP. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £222m in 2017. UK corporate entity Engine Acquisition Ltd reported billings of £113m in 2016, revenues of £89m but a net loss of £3.1m. Lake Capital's Terry Graunke is chairman of Engine Group. Kasha Cacy, previously CEO of UM USA, was appointed as global CEO of Engine in 2018. Matt Edwards is CEO of Engine Creative.
Capsule checked 3rd August 2018
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Historical profile information for Engine & WCRS
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Social Media 13th Mar 2019: "Get Money Calm". Here, finally, is the long-awaited debut campaign from Engine (formerly WCRS) for price comparison service MoneySupermarket, bringing to an end Mother's years-long incumbency. It's certainly a lot less memorable than virtually any of Mother's ads (even with the parachuting cat), but maybe that's part of the underlying strategy. Until now, MoneySupermarket's ads have been eye-grabbers pretty much just for the sake of being eye-grabbers, without saying anything at all about the product or what it does. There's clearly been a big shift away from that in the market, as Confused.com has already attempted to achieve. Engine's ad follows suit, though the inimitable Matt Berry's voiceover adds just a touch of crazy to the overall mix. Perhaps this will - at long last - encourage a similar shift on the part of CompareTheMarket and GoCompare as well. Can finally bid farewell to those annoying meerkats and cringe-inducing "Gio Compario"?
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: Engine Group said it will merge its best-known brands WCRS and Partners Andrews Aldridge as well as several other subsidiary agencies into a single integrated entity in 2019. The WCRS and PAA brands will both be dropped. "We know that, increasingly, clients need smart solutions that span disciplines and require different capabilities assembled in new ways," said the group. "The changes we are proposing are about bringing people and capabilities together to meet that client need. We are working to evolve our structure to serve our clients better, so we will be moving to one integrated Engine brand over 2019."
Adbrands Social Media 30th Aug 2018: "Spider". We'll let you know right now that arachnophobes would be best advised not to watch this superb new film from WCRS for the Royal Marines Commandos. It appears to be part of a series - the first, 'The Mist', came out a week ago - celebrating the courage and focus required from those who serve in one of the British military's most celebrated elite units. It's a clever strategy, offering viewers both a warning and a challenge: "Do you think *you're* tough enough to be a Royal Marine Commando?" Both ads were apparently shot in real jungle locations and feature serving soldiers. The spider, though, we're not so sure about...
Adbrands Social Media 8th May 2018: The latest from WCRS for Sky Mobile is stuffed full of nice little CGI stunts; it couldn't be more different from its predecessors, which just had actor Tom Hardy down the local caff with nothing more spectacular than a nice cuppa. Was it just that all the cash that might have been spent on effects was simply used to secure our Tom? Clearly not, since WCRS has upped the stakes again here by signing up another actor who doesn't generally do ordinary ads. So now we have special effects AND everyone's favourite English princess Lily James. It's all very nice to watch, but I can't say it had me rushing to sign up to Sky Mobile.
Adbrands on Social Media 13th Mar 2018: "Heat From Thin Air". Some clever digital effects combine with clever heating technology in this entertaining spot from WCRS and Engine Group for utilities company e.On. That's actually the famous Montjuic Olympic pool in Barcelona - it's rare for it to appear in an ad without its celebrated diving board and the views over the city - doubling in for the city's streets filled with water. Actually less digital work was needed than you'd think - they actually built those stone frontages along the side of the pool.
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