Every time someone sit down in front of their television, they are exposed to combinations of images and sounds that have been months and years in the making: twitched and teased this way and that in order to grab the attention and stick indelibly in the memory. They make their choices based on 'trusted brands' - which are trusted because someone on the television said that they were trustworthy. People take the advertisers' word for it: they would scoff at sticking their head in the end of a smoking cannon, but would eat a pot of teeming bacteria every day because someone said it was 'good' for them.
Using markers like 'fact', 'clinically proven', 'people just like you', 'confidence' (not to mention many words and phrases that previously belonged to a religious vocabulary, such as 'faith', 'heaven', 'eden', 'paradise' and 'sin') the general public barks like a dog and rolls over when given certain cues. The level of intrusion into our thoughts and the manipulating of our habits, beliefs, preferences and choices is astounding.
Yet, somehow, this kind of Pavlovian engineering that was once used so successfully by Edward Bernays, father of modern advertising and Hitler's favourite bedside read, to convince the entire female population that smoking was cool is accepted on all levels: the subliminal and the overt. When the State attempts to butt in using similar techniques, it gets short shrift. I suspect that this underlying dichotomy springs from the fact that advertising happens in a supposedly 'free' market, and the State is seen as anything but; that advertising lulls us into a false sense of security because it is directed at 'us' and makes 'us' feel important, whereas the State only serves to make us feel powerless. But both have only a single goal in mind: to control your consciousness.