Our history

WPP began life as a maker of wire shopping baskets. Today it is the world leader in communications services.

In 1985 Sir Martin Sorrell took a controlling stake in a small UK manufacturer of wire baskets and teapots called Wire and Plastic Products, as the foundation on which to build an international advertising and marketing services group. The company was renamed simply “WPP”, with Sir Martin as its Chief Executive.

WPP grew rapidly over the following three decades, initially through large acquisitions and subsequently through organic growth alongside smaller-scale M&A.

Today WPP is the world leader in communications services, and home to many of the industry’s most admired and successful agency networks.

The company has been a leader not only in scale but in the modernisation of the industry – pioneering the application of data and technology to communications, the consolidation of media buying to achieve the best outcomes for clients, and the seamless integration of different marketing services to provide clients with the most effective and efficient solutions.

WPP was also the first marketing services company to publish a sustainability report (in 2002), and remains a leader in the field as a member of the FTSE4Good Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Throughout its history WPP has valued and championed creative talent, and then applied that talent to achieve business results for clients – which is why WPP was not only the Most Creative Group at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity from 2011-2017, but also the Most Effective Group in the Effie Index from 2012-2018.

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