In other words, has the profession of Advertising, or creative marketing, progressed at all in the nearly-half-a-century since the 60s? (Yes, it's 40-odd years since bell-bottom trousers.)
The article by Avi Dan, a marketing consultant and advertising insider with 30 years on Madison Avenue, says, "Today the business is perhaps more complicated and demanding than it was in the 1960′s, but it doesn’t seem that the ideas are better."
So minus the politeness, the answer is, "No!"
The probable reasons are many,
It could be that the recession has forced everybody, clients and agencies alike, to play it safe and be risk averse.
Or, it could be that the business is simply different today. It is no longer about creativity but rather the quarterly earnings of publicly held agencies.
But in his opinion...
I think that what really has changed is that the advertising business has stopped producing Don Drapers: inspirational creative leaders that clients could trust and listen to.
And he's right too...
Outstanding creative leaders don’t just inspire an agency toward uncompromising creative standards; they actually create a culture of excellence and innovation. Great creative agencies catch bad ideas before they get out the door. And they know when the work starts slipping even before their clients tell them.
So Creative Directors today aren't as innately 'talented' as the "drenched in an alcoholic haze and cigarette smoke", Don Draper!
Then in the evening I came across an interesting video by the Internet-based Philosopher, Stefan Molyneux, called "Screw Talent". (Seriously, if you'd like your mind turned inside-out and handed to you on a platter along with the remains of your comfortable world-view, read his free books.)
Stefan puts forward the discomforting opinion - as Philosophers are wont to do - that there is nothing called 'talent'. All ability comes from hard work and practise.
I buy Stefan's rationale.
Because it means that I could be just as "drenched in an alcoholic haze and cigarette smoke" - and 'talented' - as the fictional Don Draper... except that I don't get nearly as much practise as he got in single-mindedly pursuing mind-blowing creatives (and women)!
See more Stefan Molyneux videos.