The only time advertising will fail is when the "message" behind an ad or commercial fails to interest the audience. It's never the media.
As long as you pony up the media money, you will get circulation of your message.
Barring a calamity, The New York Times will deliver 1,120,420 copies of your newspaper daily. Network and cable TV can deliver viewing audience in the millions upon millions. Radio stations can give you as many ears as you want per quarter hour. And the U.S. Postal Service will deliver 98% of your properly addressed mail.
Most all advertising is planned, written and produced to please the seller, not the buyer.
Thus, most all, ads are flash without flavor, shadow without substance, corporate hoopla without the personal connection.
In hard times do not to underestimate the consumer. If you want to succeed, don't bombard people you want as buyers with tasteless hints, pleas, dull sells, hard sells, pitches, palaver and endless or computer generated zoomy graphics.
People appreciate honest information. NOT any questionable claims, deceptions, or quasi-elegant language.
Just point out the difference between hype and plain old truth messages. It helps your prospects make buying decisions based on need and not on market-driven, brand name pushing, slick and silly promotions.
And always avoid selling on price and price alone. It's never ever low enough.
I've been in the hard-times ad business all my life.
If you're curious to see how much bang for a buck you can get for an ad dollar - email me for case histories.