One of the biggest trends in advertising, if you read the advertising trade magazines and sundry ad-focused blogs, is that it is no longer about advertising.
It seems to me that Adweek and Ad Age, Creativity and Agency Spy are more focused upon anti-advertising. On the one hand, you have myriad articles proclaiming the world is post-advertising. That consumers don't listen to messaging. I saw one article just yesterday that portrayed something like "10 All-Star Creative Technologists." One of those technologists said something like programmers and engineers are the copywriters and art directors of today.
(The other mass of content the ad press seems involved with is self-promotion. An ad that never ran for a charity that doesn't exist. A posting of a god-awful agency video on the virtues of recycling. And so forth.)
But let's focus on the advertising-deniers.
If you have a dozen hours or so, you ought to take a look at Neil Shubin's "Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body." In it Shubin makes pretty damn clear that we didn't just arrive in the 21st Century without precedent. Just about every bone, every synapse, every human reaction is the result of billions and billions of inputs made over billions of years.
To wake up one morning and say that the very nature of communication and humanity has changed is ignorance of the highest, or lowest, order. I often think about this when I'm at an art museum. I could be standing in front of a Caravaggio, a Bernini, a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh. If a nice-assed woman walks by, I'm going to look.
That's why advertising, regardless of the bloviating know-nothings say, will continue to move and influence people. The best of it appeals to human nature.