WPP produces solid first half – pity about the rest of dire UK economy

Timing can be all in matters economic and WPP might be regretting that its first half and Q2 2022 results coincide with dire warnings from the Bank of England about looming recession and 13% inflation with a 0.5% interest rate rise. Making its base, the UK, seem like an economic basket case.

BoE governor Andrew Bailey (surely not long for Threadneedle Street) has more on his plate than WPP CEO Mark Read clearly, who reported “strong first half: broad-based growth, sustained demand from clients, transformation programme on track. 2022 growth guidance upgraded again (to between 6-7%.).”

Actually WPP’s numbers were more solid than spectacular, with half year organic revenue growth (on WPP’s fairly conservative measure) of 8.9% with Q2 up 8.3% (US 10.4%, UK 6.2%, Germany 11.5%, China 6.1%, Australia 3.2%.)

CEO Read says: “We have enjoyed a strong first half, with broad-based growth across our creative, media and public relations businesses. This reflects the improved competitive position of our creative businesses, with their growing capabilities in commerce, experience and technology, our continued strength in media and the resurgence in demand for strategic communications advice from our public relations agencies.

“Our services are business-critical – driving growth, building brands, innovating and helping clients navigate an increasingly complex marketing environment. As major advertisers increasingly look to integrate their marketing investments, we are well positioned to serve the world’s largest companies, demonstrated by our success with Coca-Cola, which we are now onboarding at pace. The second quarter saw significant assignment wins from Audi, Audible, Danone and Nationwide.

“Our commitment to creativity was recognised at Cannes Lions in June where WPP was awarded the most creative company, recognising the quality of our work in all areas, spanning film, digital, media, commerce and creative business transformation. It’s a testament to our investment in creativity and the talent of our people, and I am committed to making WPP the most creative company in the world.

“Our clients are continuing to invest in WPP’s services, which reflects our attractive industry exposure in technology and healthcare, our broad global footprint, and the importance of what we do for their businesses. The actions we have taken over the last four years leave WPP much better positioned with a more uncertain economic environment ahead.”

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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.