Re: there's plenty of people willing to see ads
Screw the "Admen" terminology.
The people that do this are Customer Analytics experts, who mainly have degrees in Statistics and Mathematics, and can manipulate SAS statistical models like wizards - or SPSS models if the company is smaller, or R models if the company is cooler. Basically, the guys that DO this stuff really DO know their stuff statistically, usually have degrees in it, and tons and tons of practice. These guys know how to do A/B comparisons, multivariate analysis, test groups, hold-out groups, control groups, etc. They probably know a lot more about this than you ever will...because they are NOT admen, they are mathematicians. They just happen to work for admen.
And I know, because I used to run the CRM Analytics department for a major credit card company, and my current job is head of Insights and Data for an international consultancy, and much of our client work is marketing analytics (with Risk and Fraud as the other legs of the practice).
Marketing works, period. And if you DON'T believe it, all you have to do is look at how much money is spent on elections in the US, especially on TV and radio advertising. That money isn't spent because it _might_ work...that money is spent because it absolutely works, over and over again.
BTW - I don't LIKE the fact that people are so easily persuaded by marketing. I hate it, in fact. The fact that it works so well really is a reflection of our frailties and shortage of logic as humans. But the technology and maths ARE pretty cool, and every now and then marketing does some good..like let you know of an event you would have missed, or a product that you really find useful. But it IS easily abused.