Former Warc chairman Fletcher dies

06 September 2012

LONDON: Winston Fletcher, one of the UK advertising sector's best-known figures and the founder chairman of Warc, has died.

An extraordinarily energetic polymath, Mr Fletcher, CBE, combined a distinguished record in the agency sector with prolific writing and unstinting commitments to industry and charitable organisations.

Figures from advertising and publishing yesterday paid tribute to Mr Fletcher's personal qualities and contributions to improving industry governance and knowledge.

Uniquely, his career included pivotal roles at three of the UK's main advertising organisations: the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Advertising Association and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

For more than two decades, Mr Fletcher served as a stalwart of the ASA, UK advertising's self-regulatory body, including a long period as chairman of its board of finance.

Lord Chris Smith, ASA chairman, yesterday described Mr Fletcher as part of the "fabric of the ASA and the wider self-regulatory system".

Lord Smith said: "He was a vibrant and charismatic man who cared deeply about the industry he gave so much to."

Mr Fletcher is also the only person to have been both president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (1989–91) and chairman of the Advertising Association (1993–97).

He had a long involvement with Warc. In 1998 he became the founder chairman of the company, then known as the World Advertising Research Center. Later, he was also the consultant publisher of Admap and a frequent contributor to Market Leader - both titles published by Warc.

Mike Waterson, the founder of Warc, said: "Winston was a very unusual combination of charismatic individual, gifted and successful entrepreneur, wise chairman and administrator of institutions and charities - large and small, and a prolific author and speaker.

"But most of all he was a wonderful friend to many, effortlessly wise, supportive and entertaining. He gave selflessly of his time to individuals, organisations and causes, and will be greatly missed."

Mr Fletcher's huge body of writing extended his reputation well beyond the UK. He is estimated to have written more than 3,000 articles and 15 books, including Advertising: A Very Short Introduction, and Powers of Persuasion: the Inside Story of British Advertising.

As his death was announced, his latest contribution to Market Leader magazine was about to go to press.

Judie Lannon, editor of Market Leader, said: "Winston had the ability to write with both humour and incisiveness about any aspect of advertising.

"He was also a good friend and always extremely entertaining company."

Mr Fletcher brought to his writing the insights accumulated over a long career in advertising, which began in 1958 at the UK agency, Robert Sharp & Partners.

His later accomplishments included being founder chairman of Fletcher Shelton Delaney in 1974, which was acquired by the Ted Bates Group in 1980, and founding Delaney Fletcher Delaney in 1985.

He was awarded a CBE in 2010 for his services to the creative industries.

Outside the advertising scene, he was chairman of the Royal Institution, the non-profit UK body dedicated to the advancement of science, for ten years until 2008.

His charitable interests included work for Barnardo's, the children's charity, and for Autistica, which raises money to fund research into autism.

A fuller appreciation of Mr Fletcher's life and work will follow on Warc in the near future.

Data sourced from Warc