Advertising in general is just scummy shit to make people do what they don't want. Unfortunately Marti's argument falls apart by it being hinged on this insane "rational economy" assertion.
Sorry, bucko there's no free lunch on thinking straight.
Actually burning money is dÃ©classÃ©. (So is failing to render basic Unicode.) However, conspicuous consumption really works when done right. Thorstein Veblen, this is Mr Cecil Rhodes. You'll get along famously.
As far as Don Marti goes, it's an extremely well-written article about factors many people don't bother to consider. It's a heavy lunch as it now stands. But still, he leaves too much out. Sometimes you can't win.
The problem is that advertisers pursue mixed tactics. They burn money to burnish the brand silver, while also pushing your worst buttons, while moving mountains behind the scenes to obscure whatever direct quality signal the consumer might also observe.
In the rare case where a branding effort convinces me, I'll go to the corporate web site with a specific question about whether their product has a quality I regard as essential. It'll take me five minutes to even find the page that reveals this (or ten minutes of futility culminating in a boiling rage if the page doesn't even exist). Then I when I find the page, it might reveal what I wish to know or it might not. When it reveals what I wish to know, it might yet remain hard to determine exactly which models and which model years conform to my wishes.
When one steps back to do a NPV on the entire experience, the answer is "Why the fuck bother?"
My most recent horror-show experience involved procuring Nomacorc for some homemade wine which I wish to cellar for up to five years (my cellar is set up for upright bottle storage, so natural cork is a no-fly zone).
Check out this exercise in burning money: NomaSense OxiSense video. Labcoats, the musical, scored by John Williams. Notice the use of a thick French accent to extol product virtue, and the Swiss accent for the bean-counter spiff. This is a cool technology. I'm impressed, and not just in my shrivelled MTV reflex arc.
But mainly I just wanted to buy the best existing Nomcorc closure. Well, it took a long time on that horrid website to determine which of their product levels was best suited to my needs. Try it yourself.
Having figured this out, I started to call local wine supply retailers, and not a single one could tell me which expensively-branded Nomacorc they were actually purveying. Nomacorc (or their hapless distributor) ships out bags with no product markings, and neither do the individual corks have any such marking. If you bottle your fine Nebbiolo with a two-year cork by mistake, four years from now you can kiss your draino goodbye.
Eventually I found a hopeless geek such as myself who runs a brew-on-premise. I asked him which Nomacorc he sells. He launched into a tirade (without any prompting from me) "oh my god, I wasted of my life on their web site and putting through my order, but I did finally get a huge bail of corks suited to preserve wine for four plus years". I replied "thank you for saying that, I think we'll be friends for life".
As far as I'm concerned, the entire advertising industry can go stuff itself until the day comes when the supermarket informs me that I've selected a product that exceeds my personal guidelines for sodium or MSG or Monsanto extortion chemical, so I can reject it from my basket prior to paying. Until advertising is on-side with helping me enforce my better self (over my harried, impulsive fuckwit self) their business model will continue to circle the drain of preying on the weak, or the strong in weak moments.