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Ad Age’s MT Fletcher tells it like it is: but is anyone in marketing land listening?

MT Fletcher (not his or her real name) is an Ad Age columnist who has put the cat among the pigeons by decrying the rise of data over creativity (big paraphrase here.)

Agencies, particularly the big holding companies, are becoming lost in translation by mimicking the practices of consultancies when what they’re supposed to be good at is creativity and ideas, he says. His LinkedIn profile says this:

MT Fletcher has worked for advertising agencies, brands, consultancies and holding companies. Columnist and contrarian, MT can be found wandering the corporate headquarters of the world’s leading brands and commiserating with creative thinkers on Madison Avenue.

A recent article on the perils of pitching in this new environment is well worth a read, even an Ad Age subscription.

Ad Age

In one piece he avers that clients shouldn’t be interested in the “plumbing,” just the “glass of water” at the end of it. Trouble is, lots of them are more bothered about the plumbing. They feel more comfortable paying for something average that they think they understand – with the aid of charts, graphs and the dreaded Al – than something better which isn’t so explicable in such terms.

Much more important than advertising is customer experience: how is it, MT asks, that when so much seeming effort goes into customer experience it gets relentlessly worse? The world’s big companies – especially telecoms, energy, banking and retailers – are loathed by a large portion of their customer base. This despite the many shiny new customer experience units in agencies desperately searching for something to invoice.

If your customers hate you, then all the advertising in the world won’t remedy things. Ask Virgin Media or HSBC.

MT should be welcomed to the ranks of others, like Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman, who speak truth to power. Just don’t bank on anyone in power listening.

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