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WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell is going to have to wait a bit longer to become Lord Sorrell

It’s only a matter of time of course but WPP”s Sir Martin Sorrell missed the cut to be ennobled as Lord Sorrell in the Queen’s Birthday honours (it’s not her real birthday but her ‘official’ birthday).

Her Majesty probably doesn’t have the faintest idea who Sorrell is (although he was invited to the recent Buckingham Palace dinner for Barack Obama) or what WPP does.

UK chancellor George Osborne and his boss PM David Cameron do of course, but they’ll be waiting for WPP to come back to London from Dublin, where the company relocated a couple of years ago to save tax.

It’s not like the old days when Cameron’s Tory predecessor as PM Margaret Thatcher used to dish out gongs to her pals in advertising and media with gay abandon.

Favourite adviser Tim Bell of Saatchi & Saatchi became, first, Sir Tim and then Lord Bell; Maurice Saatchi went straight to being Lord Saatchi, newspaper editors Nick Lloyd (Express) and the late, lamented David English (Daily Mail) became knights. PR man Peter Gummer became Lord Chadlington.

Cameron’s Tories are much more circumspect, the only knighthoods this time going to ancient City luminaries and former bus conductor Brian Souter who runs transport company Stagecoach.

Is Sir Martin bovvered?

I’d think he he would quite like to be a lord although I can’t imagine he’d turn up at the House of Lords very often, having a full diary.

Maybe Sorrell’s biggest achievement is to help to make advertising a pillar of the UK business establishment where previously it was always regarded as being a bit Saatchi & Saatchi (his old stamping ground).

It’s always been this in the US of course where stories about agencies make the headlines in national and regional media.

Sir John Hegarty of BBH fame remarked to my chum Paul Simons and me the other day that US television series ‘Mad Men’ was the best thing that had happened to advertising recently, making the mucky old trade cool again.

What role do you think Sir Martin might play in Mad Men? It would be an even bigger one if he were Lord Sorrell of course.

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Barack Obama bbh Brian Souter David Cameron George Osborne Lord Bell Lord Chadlington Lord Saatchi Lord Sorrell Margaret Thatcher Paul Simons Peter Gummer queen's birthday honours Sir John Hegarty Sir Martin Sorrell Sir Time Bell stagecoach Tim Bell WPP

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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