There is basically one thing an ad is meant to do.
It is meant to impart information that will serve to motivate you into some kind of thought or action.
We employ a variety of tools, techniques and styles in order to make this happen.
However, along the way the central advertising question changed from "will it motivate?" to something considerably different and blander, that is: "will it offend?"
Not offending became the shibboleth of so many agencies and clients. Not offending gave birth to an army of apologists. Every ad had to run the gauntlet of "be-careful-ists."
Their job was to make sure that there was something for everyone in everything. That everything was moderate and comfortable.
This is not to say that offending is the point of advertising. It's not. But advertising should take a stand. It should say something in an intrusive or original way. A way that's likely to ruffle some feathers.
What question do you answer to?