Even by his standards, it has been a busy 12 months for the chairman of WCRS, the advertising agency for mobile brand 3, The Number 118 118, First Direct, BUPA, and for the last quarter of a century, BMW.
In the spring Robin Wight was involved in the £15m management buyout of WCRS from Havas, the French marketing services group which has spent most of 2004 as the subject of takeover rumours. The terms of the deal and the continuing good performance of the agency, particularly in new business where wins have included Conde Nast’s magazine launch Easy Living and the Euro-sceptic “Vote No” brief, have fed the rumour mill that WCRS could itself be sold again or floated within two years.
Wight started his first advertising agency while still a student at Cambridge and went on to work as a copywriter at agencies including Collett Dickinson Pearce, the pioneering agency whose campaigns for Bird’s Eye or Parker Pens have come to symbolise 1970s British advertising. In 1979, he helped set up Wight Collins Rutherford Scott, known as WCRS after its float in 1982. It was later sold to Havas.
But advertising has only ever filled part of the Wight diary. He is a long-term campaigner for the importance of creativity in commerce and chairs the not-for-profit Arts Business organisation. This body promotes the idea that “good business and great art together create a richer society” - an unfashionable concept when anti-corporate polemics are drawing them in at the cinema or the bookshop.
Wight doesn’t rely on others to put his beliefs into practice. He has also founded and is chair of the Ideas Foundation, a body which is organising scholarships for secondary school pupils in the east end of London.