Martin Sorrel’s marketing firm WPP revises restrictions on alcohol in the office

The days of Mad Men are coming to an end, as one of the world’s most powerful marketing firms has revised its policy on alcohol in the office.

WPP’s Martin Sorrell (Photo: WEF/Wikimedia Commons).

Executives at global ad agency group WPP sent a memo to staff reminding them of the changes to the firm’s code of practice on drinking in his agencies’ offices last week.

Drinking on the job is now against company policy, according to the note seen by trade publication PR Week, which said that “no drinks trolleys should be provided nor alcohol consumed at desks or in work areas.”

WPP  which lists 406 individual companies on its website, also encouraged agencies to limit alcohol to designated areas such as dining rooms, lounges and on-site bars.

It also wants to limit daily boozing times to “generally no more than two hours” after work.

The updated policy said that food, water and non-alcoholic drinks should still be available to all staff within the WPP portfolio.

WPP is also seeking to crackdown on peer pressure in the office, as the note added that employees should respect their colleagues decision if they would prefer not to drink.

Individual firms should also be able to provide safe transport for staff who are “impaired”, as well as restrict the service of alcohol to employees under the legal drinking age.

The crackdown on office drinks comes as Martin Sorrell’s 33-year tenure at the firm — a company he launched in 1971 and built into a £15 billion global powerhouse — is under threat as WPP investigates allegations of personal misconduct against him.

Last week, WPP announced that it had appointed legal firm WilmerHale as independent counsel to investigate an allegation of personal misconduct against the chief executive.

Sorrrell strongly denies any allegations, but told reporters he “recognises that the company has to investigate it.”

Sorrell said: “I understand that this process will be completed shortly. Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation underway,” according to the Guardian.

A source familiar with the memo said that the note is unrelated to the ongoing investigation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Champagne Masters 2019

View Results

Rioja Masters 2019

View Results

Click to view more

Subscribe today to get each issue of The Drinks Business as soon as it's published, plus all the latest breaking news and access to our library of back issues.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news about the international spirits industry every weekday lunchtime (GMT)