WPP opens new creative powerhouse in Manchester

6 Jul 2023

  • WPP’s first UK campus outside of London is built on the former Granada Studios site, Enterprise City, and will be occupied by eight WPP agencies
  • CEO Mark Read and UK President Karen Blackett OBE will be joined by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, clients and partners, at the official opening

WPP today opens a creative powerhouse in the North of England with its new Manchester Campus, signalling its ambition to invest in the city and grow its business outside London.

The move strengthens the company’s 30-year-long presence in the city and unites 550 people from long-established WPP agencies in Manchester – EssenceMediacom, Cheetham Bell, Code Computerlove, Wavemaker, Cloud Commerce Group and Kinetic – as well as agencies new to the area: Ogilvy Health and VMLY&R Health.

The modern, 67,000-sqft office space was designed by BDG architecture + design, a WPP company, and is split over eight floors to provide collaborative and dynamic co-working areas for the agencies which have grown significantly in the last five years.

The campus has put inclusive design at its heart to meet the evolving and diverse needs of its people, including flexible workspaces that reflect WPP’s continued focus on mental wellbeing. It boasts three double-height social hubs with feature stairs, additional accessible toilets and dedicated mothers’ rooms. The building also includes a roof terrace with views across the city, as well as a café, bar, and business event space. Sustainability is at the centre of the renovation – as it is for all new WPP campus buildings – and the Manchester Campus is targeting a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

The Manchester Campus will also serve as a catalyst for growth in the local community. Through partnerships with organisations like The ScaleUp Institute, WPP plans to support and foster small businesses in Manchester, providing them with opportunities to collaborate and grow alongside its agencies. The campus will also partner through a variety of volunteering opportunities with local community groups such as The Trussell Trust and Mustard Tree, who are dedicated to addressing food waste, and preventing homelessness and poverty respectively.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Our Manchester agencies have achieved significant growth and success, driven by the extraordinary talent and dedication of our people. It is their accomplishments that have paved the way for the creation of this new state-of-the-art campus. Manchester is a thriving creative hub and it has always been our intention to invest in a campus that would bring our agencies together in the city. This move further demonstrates our commitment to facilitate collaboration, fuel creativity, and give clients access to the breadth and depth of WPP talent in one location.”

Karen Blackett OBE, UK President of WPP, said: "Manchester has always been a city brimming with growth and creativity and we wanted to be at the heart of that. The city is also home to a beautiful fruit salad of people and we need to reflect that in our organisations in order to generate growth. We are thrilled to see this vision come to life and become an integral part of the vibrant Manchester community."

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer added: “WPP’s new campus, bringing together the innovation and talent of its agencies, will help to solidify Manchester’s status as one of the UK’s most successful creative powerhouses.

“Building on these clusters of excellence across the country is at the heart of the government’s plans to maximise the potential of our world-leading creative industries.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We’re really pleased to see WPP strengthen its presence here in our city-region with the opening of a major new site in Manchester. This campus is another testament to our international competitiveness and showcases our ability to attract world-renowned businesses and world-class talent. The presence of WPP, along with other industry giants, is helping to transform the economic landscape of Greater Manchester and support a growing success story.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Economy Lead, concluded: “WPP has played an important role in Manchester’s creative economy for many years now, and this new Manchester Campus is a clear signal of their intent to grow that contribution even further. Our city-region is increasingly being seen by investors and global businesses as a place that offers the connectivity, the talent, and the partnerships that they need to grow and thrive, and that in turn supports our vision for a Greater Manchester that provides good jobs and opportunities for all.”

To mark the official opening of the new campus, Mark Read and Karen Blackett will host an event attended by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham; Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester’s Economy portfolio lead Cllr Bev Craig; and WPP clients, senior leaders, partners, and local community leaders.

The new Manchester Campus is WPP’s 36th campus globally, forming part of the company’s plan to have 85% of its people in campuses worldwide by 2025.

Further information
Susie Metnaoui, WPP
+44 (0)7916 139 094
[email protected]

Louise Lacourarie, WPP
+44 (0)7741 360 931 
[email protected]

About WPP
WPP is the creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.