Marketing has played a role in building successful businesses since ancient Egyptian entrepreneurs tacked papyrus posters to stone walls. I like the old ads, because they're honest and to the point. Even through the mid-20th century, most advertisements were declarations of value. Now, many ads are little more than psychological ruses, designed to elicit emotions rather than present a product that fills a void.
The new age of marketing might be more effective to the masses, but I still contend that a no-gimmick, no-frills advertisement can outperform psycho-marketing when delivered to the right audience. For inspiration, browse through the AdClassix collection of old advertisements. Take a look at the stuff from the early 1900s and you'll see the difference — not that the era didn't have its share of snake oil salesmen (they're unavoidable).
Marketing has evolved, for better or for worse, and the irony can be laughable. How well do you think the 1895 “GET FAT” ad would perform today?