1985: Martin Sorrell invests in WPP for the first time

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Sir Martin Sorrell

The world's largest advertising network, founded in 1971, WPP (Wire and Plastic Products LTD) was the manufacturer of wire shopping baskets.

In 1985 it would cross paths with one of the most important figures to emerge from British advertising, the then financial director of Saatchi & Saatchi, Martin Stuart Sorrell who was seeking a listed company to build his empire around. The following year he would become its chief executive and would proceed to acquire the likes of J. Walter Thomson and Ogilvy & Mather and build a global group that would overtake every other in terms of size through an almost insatiable appetite for acquisition.

The modern industry seems almost unimaginable without the influence of Sir Martin, knighted in 2000, with his every word being hung upon by international business media subsequently.

The business currently has its headquarters in London and has won the Holding Company of the Year prize at the Cannes International Festival for six consecutive years between 2010 and 2016.

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

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