If he wasn’t right so often, you’d suspect the Ad Contrarian blog was written by a Grumpy Old Ad Guy (there are more of us than you might suspect).

His latest rant skewers the ad industry’s tendency to ignore common sense in the race to remain hyper-relevant (he calls it “The Search For Miracles”):

Every few years we invent a trendy new miracle and everyone immediately jumps on it.

Sometimes it’s a media miracle like social media.

Sometimes it’s a process miracle like account planning.

Sometimes it’s a technical miracle like “big data.”

Whatever shape the miracle takes, one thing is for sure: it’s going to change everything.

Every agency in the known universe jumps all over the new miracle and it becomes the centerpiece of their website and their new business pitch.

The hunt for a competitive edge via the latest “miracle” might be the ad industry’s least-endearing trait. But it’s clearly one of its most amusing.

I last worked at an agency in the early 1990s, and you basically couldn’t swing a marker comp over your head without hitting someone speaking the word “synergistic” (typically referring to an unholy fusion of PR, media, sales and advertising).

Shortly after synergy died, technology became the new miracle drug, though the eras overlapped. One slightly drunk account exec enthusiastically told me their agency’s technology (a network of Macs) actually “synergized” the client right to the marketplace.

It was a discussion I couldn’t un-hear (I tried), but the hype surrounding the social media “revolution” has actually left me longing for the common-sense virtues of “synergy.”

Of course, social media — as a marketing miracle — is playing out, and it’s now the domain of over-the-hill 30-somethings. I think the really hip folks have moved onto “native” advertising (which sounds a lot like regular advertising, but with less honesty).

What’s most remarkable about marketing — at least over the long-term — is how the basic principles don’t change. The things I learned writing B2B direct response, B2B/B2C ad campaigns, collateral and other work still apply today. People still respond to things like mystery, story and — yes — even benefits.

“What’s in it for me” is still the question you have to answer every time you fire up a project.

In other words, the media channels have changed, but with the exception of a shorter attention span, people really haven’t.

See you chasing miracles, Tom Chandler.