The company primarily functioned as a manufacturer of wire shopping baskets — the acronym stands for Wire and Plastic Products — but Sorrell quickly changed its direction with an acquisition of marketing communications J. Walter Thompson a couple years later.
WPP bought other agencies, including Ogilvy, Young & Rubicam and Grey Global Group, bringing all forms of advertising campaign creation, media buying and public relations in-house.
Along the way, Sorrell gained respect for his ability to explain how advertising trends affect the greater business world, said Michael Kassan, CEO of media advisory firm MediaLink.
“Without question, Martin’s earned wide respect for his business acumen,” Kassan said. “He’s unique in the advertising industry in that he not only has the ear of the CMO, but of the entire C-suite. He’s actually been able to transcend the advertising industry and has become a force in the larger business community, sought after by many for his insights into general market trends.”