I see that through many of your comments, it's good to see that most of you don't fall for marketing schemes. These advertisements are easy to do for kids stuff, whether it's toys or cereal, all they have to do is make it seem fun and exciting. As the audience gets older it gets away from that and into image, or now the new thing is saving money. So, I am going to write about marketing this time.
Insurance commercials are the big players on the saving money scheme, but they are only useful for new customers or people who haven't been a customer for very long. I've been with State Farm for almost 12 years now for car insurance, a couple of years ago I got curious and went online and called a few other companies. No one could come close to the rates I was getting, this is because if you are a new customer you are automatically a risk. This is not as in a bad driver risk, but that might be the case. New customers, not new drivers, are either fresh off their parents' insurance (still inexperienced), shopping around (flight risk), or just got their driver's privileges back (bad driver). Keep in mind what I am about to tell you is stuff at the corporate levels, any regular salesman or telemarketer does not have any knowledge of this.
For those just off their parents' insurance, the insurance companies still view them as inexperienced. There is also the view of that they may not have that stable of a job, this means that they will bump your rate up a little more. There is also credit, yes, they look at credit as well, being young your score will not be that good (even though you pay your bills on time, don't worry it will get better) and they bump it up more. If you are older and a new customer they are assuming that you are a flight risk, and that after a few months you might find a better deal and move on. Taking this into account they will bump your rate up a little just for that. If you just got your liscence back, then you're screwed, I hope you can afford it.
Your best bet is to find a company that matches to what you want and what you can afford, stick with them, and be a good driver. Being a good driver and a used car, is the best bet to get your rates down.
The TV service companies are big on new customers, too. Cable and satellite offer great rates to new customers, but yet they screw you over when you stick with them. They regularly raise rates on people, but if you see a deal or something for an upgrade or new equipment they will say "new customers only". I am with DirecTV, and have been for over 6 years. Last year I had to plead with a customer service guy to get a DVR without paying anymore, and in the end I threatened to switch to Dish Network. Soon, I will be moving to cable anyway.
Fast food places also have ads about saving money, the difference about those guys are that they are telling the truth but the sizes are shrinking. Like at McDonald's the standard Quarter Pounder hasn't shrunk because they can't change a standard size without having a lawsuit, but the regular burgers are shrinking. Then there's the idea of that they hide information, they will advertise that a "value" fries is $1 (or $0.99, depending on where you go) and you will assume that the "value" fries is a small. No, the small is not the $1 size, but you won't know that until you pay for it.
Image is a big scheme that advertisers and marketers work for. You can see the commercials for Old Navy, Scion, Mac, and so on, all show in some sort of way that the product is cooler, hipper, faster, stylish, etc. None of the products will change who you are, the only thing they might do is help you find people who buy the same products. The same people who fall for subliminal messages, and think they are better than others based on the products they buy, basically superficial people. People should buy products based on what they will use it for, not because they saw some ad somewhere saying it's better than product X.
Personally, I the stuff I buy is usually based on durability. I buy Levi's jeans, I have found that they last longer than others I have tried out, in fact I have some that are almost 10 years old without holes. I am not going to buy jeans based on the "style", because styles change and the manufacture takes this into account with the quality. The manufacturer doesn't need to make durable items if their product will not be used for more than a year. Same thing with cars, if you keep up with maintenance then a car will last a long time. If you don't keep up with maintenance then the car will only last about three to five years (usually about the time that people think they need a new one anyway).
There is also one more factor that the general public fall for, that is the product placement factor in TV and movies. This includes drinks, computers, food, cars, guns, just about anything you can think of. Look for labels on any TV show or movie then look at the credits and you will find that the products that you saw will be recognized by the producers. Then do the same thing and look for products that you know what they are but they don't show the name or the label, usually some sort of canned drink, and you will see that they are not recognized. This is another way that people will buy something based on some actor they saw using it on a screen, even though the actor may not use it in real life.
Basically all these little hints permeate someones mind and more or less decides for them what they are going to buy. I have seen that this affects women more than men and this only works if someone is not aware that it is happening, I hope that explaining all this makes you aware so that you can make informed decisions on what you buy.