High-minded people are often instinctively suspicious of the idea of brands. Brands can seem hateful on so many grounds: because of their maddening ubiquity (they surprise us on a mountain walk or on arrival in a new country where we’d gone specifically to experience a different culture); because they squeeze out smaller independent alternatives to which they are often the inferiors; or because they radiate values which appear to us fake, exaggerated or plain daft. It’s natural to suppose that we would, ideally, live in an entirely unbranded world.
Many adverts take us directly into the heart of happiness: they show us families that are happy to be together, lovers who remember how to be grateful, friends who delight in one another’s company. They can be moving precisely because what they depict is so difficult to find in real life. Their emotional power is premised on evoking what is missing, rather than what is present in our lives.