Consumers will choose when and how they want to engage with a brand/company and when they don't want to be engaged by a brand/company.
It has been bubbling around in my head ever since I heard about it a couple of years ago, but the thing that reminded me of it was a new feature on Campaign Monitor. Here it is:
In order to maintain good list health and keep the spam filters away Campaign Monitor has always been good at ensuring that permission has been granted by the receiver of email. But this new feature takes it to the next level by adding a second level of confirmation even in the admin interface.
What it shows to me is that be it by increased privacy laws (eg Cookie notifications in the EU) or self-regulation (Campaign Monitor's increased checking) the consumers are slowing building their case against brand/company intrusion.
The 'killer app' has not yet arrived to manage all your advertising interactions, and the dis-integrated nature of media probably means it never will, but I think it does show a path towards a media future where consumers will manage their relationships with brands.
Personally I also think that both the consumer AND the brand will be all the better for it.