The Week: Best of the blogs - Metrics and creativity

Once or twice towards the end of Winston Fletcher's new book Powers of Persuasion (OUP), I felt like a cancer patient who has just emerged from a session in a $30 million PET scanner to be told he is suffering from bad humours and a choleric temper and should eat the gall bladders of finches at full moon, followed by an intense session of cupping.

Do go and buy this book. You'll enjoy it, and it's important to read it. But just occasionally the author's diagnosis and treatment don't quite live up to the depth of knowledge.

Page 253, for instance, where Mr Fletcher blames the decline in British creativity on the conflict between old and new media, is strange and horribly simplistic.

Anything else? Fletcher patently loves the IPA Advertising Effectiveness Awards, but should perhaps ask whether the cult of accountability is bad for advertising. A recent talk by Peter Field made it clear to me that if you only use one metric to measure the success of your advertising, and if you devise an ad for one predefined purpose only, you will be massively under-realising its potential.

This is the problem with imposing ever more metrics on a creative business. Most people in advertising and marketing are simply too innumerate and ungrounded in scientific understanding to be trusted with any figures more complicated than a lunch bill. They are arts graduates. They truly don't know **** about this stuff.

Rory Sutherland,


Become a member of Campaign from just £51 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content


Five steps to smashing that interview


Future favours the brave