> I think the best you can do is try to teach people to understand when they are being manipulated and hopefully it will some day cease to be profitable enough for folks to continue doing (one can always hope).
I can do you one better - we could ban ALL attempts at psychological manipulation in advertising, restricting ads to only strictly factual statements about the product. If that's a bit to vague for we could start with a set of concrete guidelines: No sexuality or sensuality of any form will be portrayed or implied in an ad. No social situations will be displayed or heard. No implications may be made that a product will increase your social status or other desirable qualities unless it is specifically being marketed to do so (and is thus vulnerable to false advertising charges). And I'm sure we could think of a few more, and would have to add still more as marketers found new buttons to push.
That would still allow advertisers to inform their audience of the availability of their product and whatever wonderful features it has. They just can't attempt to inspire any emotions other than "this is a wonderful product on it's own merits". You can show the car and its luxurious interior, you can list it's impressive specs, and demonstrate the surly growl of the engine. You just can't attempt to manipulate your audience into wanting it more than they're pre-inclined to do.