I grew up in the era depicted in the popular TV show Mad Men. Back then, advertising was the number one game in town. It was almost a cliche ... the corporate, suit-and-tied junior exec was in advertising. The number of books and movies portraying the advertising business is staggering. Movies like Lover Come Back, Good Neighbor Sam, and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, along with TV shows like Bewitched, all revolve around the ad business. So it's no surprise that shows like Mad Men fill us with nostalgia for those cut-throat, back-stabbing days when advertising was the prestige business in America.
Well, guess what, it still is. In the high-tech world, hardware companies like DEC and IBM were eclipsed by software giants like Microsoft and Adobe. Now those, too, are overshadowed by companies like Google, a company whose business is ... selling ads.