Advertising may pre-date “the world’s oldest profession.” After all, to attract a clientele, those practitioners first had to communicate their unique features and benefits and then convey how they differed from the nearby competition. Whether it’s an account that Gilgamesh, Sargon & Greenberg would have wanted is an open question but, today, thousands of years later, people still agree that sex sells...even if we don’t sell any actual sex – at least not publicly.
Yet across the millenia, has anything changed? Sellers still want to get the attention of buyers, captivate them long enough to generate desire, and make it clear why what they have to offer is the very best deal. Consumers want to know that what they buy is what they need, that it will do what they want it to (and what’s it’s supposed to), and that the value is worth the merchant’s asking price (or, in every place except the U.S.A., the negotiated selling price).
What has changed are the media...but not the disputes about them. In all likelihood, the same “death of” discussions greeted the handbill (and the presumed decline in billboards...which Latin speakers can still read on the walls of Pompeii), the print ad (killing the handbill), radio (the end of print), television (the demise of radio), cable (the end of advertising altogether), and the Web (the eternal darkness of TV).
We don't make things irresistible in a vacuum. We follow the same advice that we give to our clients.