Don't kid yourself. Companies aren't around to help you, they're around to make money. In order to make money, they have developed increasingly sophisticated techniques for convincing people to buy their products. Look at ads from the 1950s compared with today.

Now think theory of evolution. Companies that don't develop good advertising techniques die. The methods used today to make people want to buy certain products have become sooo clever... I failed the advertising component of 6th form English beacause I was so extremely disgusted by what they were teaching us (I still learned the techniques well though. Know thine enemy and all that).

What we were taught was how to implant messages and associations into people's subconscious minds without them noticing. We were 16 and they taught us to do this, I shudder to think what sort of things go on on the boardrooms of advertising executives as you move up the food chain.

I developed this technique without meaning to, it's just one of those things that springs out of me thinking everything in my environment is out to get me for reasons fair or foul. Watch advertisements. Watch them like a mouse might watch a circling hawk. Dissect them in your mind, figure out what they want you to think and how they make you think it. Think about how valid or invalid the message itself is. Many people just watch advertisements in the same slow-wave state they watch the rest of TV in, not analysing, and so the techniques in the advertisements work. They depend for their success on a sort of half-attention being paid to them - this allows the message they are pushing to be absorbed without critique by your reason. You associate cars with sex, or success with beer, or giving money to the bank with a stable happy family. By pulling the symbolism and innuendo in advertisements to pieces you train your mind to evaluate the validity of the messages it's receiving.

I've heard multiple references to the over-analytical nature of everythingians, so maybe I'm preaching to the converted.