Teaching people that they should cultivate their identity through consumerism was a genius move from an advertising perspective. Like do you want to be a 'biker' guy, then you can't just buy a motorcycle, you need to buy all the t-shirts and accessories, all the leather stuff, also you have to buy all the same stuff for your wife who's now a 'biker wife', then you have to be a part of the mass group. Same thing with anything else, gamers, athletes, 'hipsters', etc.
One of my favourite photographers is James A. Fox. Although I love his images, his business acumen doesn't inspire or motivate me at all. In fact it kinda pisses me off in that we, as a collective, define 'genius' and 'success' in this way. He sold many photos that helped to forge the essence of the Everlast brand... so now everyone can be part of that "essence" and all we (the consumer) have to do is part with our cash. We have created a world where anything is possible but nothing is real.
I guess it will just be matter of time before people start to come to terms with their shallow and meaningless consumer driven existence and move onto the next means of filling the void. I just wish I knew what it was going to be so I could make a $h1tload of money out of it before anyone else does!!