One thing is clear: everyone thinks online banners are dead. Inefficient and stupid, mere clutter and annoyance, base ways to make advertising online.
Now consider this: everyone also thinks that advertising in print is dead because it is inefficient and stupid, no point in placing your ad next to mere tabloid shit nobody buys because they can get it for free online. Plus: everyone thinks nobody watches ads on TV anymore because there's TIVO, the TV shows are crap, the production value is minimal, the topics are ridiculous and anyway everyone is on the Internet nowadays. Finally, radio is dead because ...well, simply because it has no images like TV. So no point in advertising there either.
We have crap content on media we sell crap advertising to accompany it. Is the solution to bury all media and constantly search for the elusive and so-called efficient NEW media? Maybe we could try something "groundbreaking": making good content and good advertising.
Which brings me back to online banners: they're only crap because people assume big quantity is bad quality and trivialize the making of display/online banners. Banners do not work because we make them CRAP (or crappily) not because people do not click on them. Obviously if you ask the "duh" question"why do people not click on banners?" the answer is just that: because banners are MADE crap. Spend a couple of minutes thinking about what you want to do with that banner and how it should do it an your CTR will go up. The same principle works for TVCs and OOH displays: they are crap, so they do not work. If they were good, they would. So when Wieden+Kennedy makes animated ads for Coke, they work - although cartoons in advertising are "so passee, cliche, last Friday and cheap". For W+K they work because they're good.
So no, banners are not dead. They are killed.
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.