Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is an advertising agency in New York City.
A New Company
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was formed in December 1963 when it became clear that McCann Erickson was going to purchase Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe, which had acquired the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency a year prior. Lane Pryce was convinced to free Don Draper, Bertram Cooper, and Roger Sterling from their employment contracts and contractual obligations (such as non-compete clauses) to start a new advertising agency, by firing them, in exchange for a partnership (which is later revealed to be a "junior" partnership, with restricted obligations and payouts, in "Blowing Smoke") and its "name on the door".
After being fired, they began to collect their portfolios to convince the companies to move to their new firm. They were able to convince Pete Campbell (exchanging a junior partnership for him bringing his 8 million dollars in accounts during the weekend), Peggy Olson, Harry Crane, and Joan Holloway to join the new firm. At its inception, the employees worked out of a hotel suite. ("Shut the Door. Have a Seat")
1 Year Later
By Thanksgiving of 1964, the fledgling firm was still trying to gain its bearings in the Advertising world. They lost the Jai alai account when Horace Cook, Jr. was disappointed that he got no mention in an article highlighting Don Draper and the new firm, leaving them with Lucky Strike making up the majority of their portfolio, a dangerous position to be in as a company. ("Public Relations")
As of 1965, other firms were finding it easy to attack SCDP, notably the similarly sized Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough, in an attempt to take their publicity and clients.
Honda was looking at other firms to do business with, including SCDP and Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough. Roger killed any potential deal they could have made with Honda by launching into an anti-Japanese tirade after arriving at their meeting late, a move that Pete had anticipated. Pete tried to thwart Roger's sabotage by starting the meeting early in the hopes Roger would miss it entirely.
SCDP decided to turn the tables on CGC by convincing them to surpass Honda's ground rules involving a 3,000 dollar limit and a promise to not show any finished products by pretending SCDP was shooting a commercial. In fact, all SCDP had done was rent an empty studio set and ride a motorcycle around for a few hours, creating the illusion they were actually filming. By convincing CGC to create a commercial, Don was able to feign disgust with the Honda executives, returning their 3,000 dollars and telling them SCDP was not interested in taking part in their business.
This move impressed the Honda execs, informing SCDP that they had a shot at Honda's automobile account. ("The Chrysanthemum and the Sword")
3 Years Later
Before Christmas 1966, Lane confirms the firm has been operating at a loss for 3 years ("Commissions and Fees").
4 Years Later
In May 1968, Don and Ted Chaough decided to merge SCDP and CGC as a means of attracting Chevrolet (and other clients) to a larger agency. CGC moved its personnel to the SCDP office. Later that year, the new firm was officially named Sterling Cooper & Partners (SC&P).