First off - I worked in advertising for 12 years, I've met some of the least self-confident, bullshit-spewing people in that business I've ever had to work with, and a few legitimately clever folks, too. Like any business, I suppose, but the level of emperor's new clothes syndrome reaches incredible heights. I can't watch any "behind the scenes" of an ad campaign without my gag reflex kicking in.
Also, I am one of those people, like some in the threads here, who thinks advertising "doesn't work" on me. My eye is well trained to skip over ad space and to roll skyward when I'm forced to sit through commercials (pretty much only when I go to see a movie in a theatre, which is rare). You can tell me it's all subliminal, my subconscious is being groomed to consume all you want, but in the end when I crave a cola, I pick coke because pepsi tastes like fructose mixed with old coffee grounds, not because they'd like to teach the world to sing. I do think advertising "works", however, because there are shit tons of people out there who gobble this crap up (yes, outraged parent posting your minion toy from Macdonald's saying something vaguely like "shit" on YouTube, I'm looking at you). It's Barnum and Bailey, friend, line those rubes up and take their money.
So entire economies are based on this advertising model, enough to bring countries to their knees, like it or not, so my question is: what exactly is the alternative posed by that navel-gazing article? What shall we do to stand against this outrage against humanity, supposedly somehow different than what advertisers have been doing ever since the first snake oil salesman started barking from a corner in the early morning mists of a village that would one day become Mesopotamia? It just read like a cranky old man piece with no point whatsoever, and worse, no alternatives.