They were wrong because they made these decisions themselves. Time and time again I'd watch inexperienced assistant account executives prepare recipe dissemination ads for Leo Burnett clients and no other input whatsoever. Take it to the account supervisor who takes it to the client and voila, another ad, another account, another sale bites the dust. We see it and forget it. Might as well be making newspaper ads for all the insight that goes into such productions - but hey clients, it's your money not mine.
I always preferred a form of consumer homework I used to employ that proactively stimulated consumer minds with hundreds of phrases covering all known and potentially hidden product dimensions that in some way shape or form might impact consumer perceptions. I put the creative stimulus packets in front of consumers, removing myself from the loop, and let consumers choose the most important directions. Because I didn't have to use my mind as the "Idea Broker" I kept hitting home runs for people like Coke and Pepsi, General Motors and General Mills.,
What's different about today? Executives in companies still don't like to do their homework.