In my experience the more you customise your ads to look like content the better your click through rates. At Avvio we offer XML solutions to our publisher clients. For example - Breaks Ireland.com. - these ads look like content resulting in high click throughs.
Yes, I quite agree with you but nowadays a picture can say a thousand words, and this is especially true when it comes to advertising. And AdWords is expanding their reach with the search results ads by now allowing advertisers to use image extensions with their ads so that images may show up along with the AdWords ads.