It's just a hope, I'm not sure it's right but gapingvoid is moving along with his wholesale cluetrain adoption and now says that branding is dead. I hope so. There are some specific people in the danish media landscape thriving on glib branding ideas, who I'd really like to see the shit kicked out of. I think, that if it's true it's because merit can be bought, and passion can't. Do not mistake a purchased "brand" identity and your true grown, organic personality. The advertising agencies don't have a take on the organic, internalized bit and it's all that really matters.
Even a company as good at surfaces and marketing as Apple is first and foremost good at building products. The iPod is not just the best looking player, its also the best player. OS X is true innovation.
Personally I don't really care a lot about advertising at all (I hate most of it), but this idea that there's a difference between looking good and being good is important all over the place.