UK adland’s man of letters Winston Fletcher is dead

Celebrated UK adman and author Winston Fletcher died last week aged 75, which we missed.

Even in his prime Fletcher (left) seemed like a figure from another age; although he was fascinated by advertising, writing several tomes on the subject, it was by no means his whole life and he managed to be both part of the advertising establishment – chairman of the Advertising Association, president of the IPA and chairman of the Advertising Standards Board of Finance (which funds the ASA) – while somehow remaining above (or beyond) it all as an old-style man of letters. He was also a trustee of the Humanist Association and a board member of Barnardo’s.

But Fletcher was a shrewd businessman too, forming Fletcher Shelton Delaney (with Tory MP Bill Shelton) and then Delaney Fletcher Delaney (with Paul and Barry Delaney). On the way he did deals with US agencies Ted Bates and Bozell Jacobs. DLKW, now owned by Lowe & Partners, somehow or other emerged from this tangled web of Delaneys.

Fletcher studied philosophy at Oxford at a time when most Oxford undergraduates were posh (they are again these days, I guess, but Fletcher wasn’t). He was a witty and engaging man, cut from the same cloth as one-time JWT London boss and industry savant Jeremy Bullmore. This meant, among other things, that he thought advertising should be based on sound, research-based intellectual principles and that companies engaged in it should behave responsibly.

He also recognised that often it wasn’t and often they didn’t. Which was also part of the fun.

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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.

One comment

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    Such a lovely man. Never worked with him, but spent many enjoyable hours in his company at various pubs. You should try and get hold of his 1973 first book…”The Ad Makers.” Out of print, but available from Amazon re-sellers. Great stuff… “The Case of the Eskimo Client.” Or the client who shouted at Winston… “Call that an advert? I could do better with my knob and a pot of paint.” Ah yes, the good old days. I am sure that Winston is currently sitting in the bar of that “Big Agency in the Sky” enjoying that Scotch he was so fond of.
    Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker