It’s a puzzling form of self-deception, this. Comparisons across time are meaningless. Winning things gets neither harder nor easier. The increased sophistication of your consumers, real or imagined, will affect your competitors no less than yourself. There has never been a time when advertising was expected to do anything other than work hard.
To the envious practitioners of 2040, marketing in the 1990s will presumably seem to have been a doddle. How easy, they will think, how very, very easy.
The reason it doesn’t seem so now is because it isn’t.