My previous employer anecdote:
The company had around 500 employees, mostly doing contracting work at various locations (but also quite some numbers at the head office). They had a dedicated team of three people (one male, two females, fairly young all of them - and with the CEO's wife occasionally adding her weight there) responsible for social media, the company magazine (hard-copy), organizing various competitions and events (and to be honest, helping out with some HR functions, like getting new employees introduced). I guess the idea was to help "unify" the workforce that would otherwise have little contact outside their own project groups. Company "meetings" (at least twice a year) where usually held at some nigh club, with a short CEO presentation, and then a lot of free food, booze and loud music. (Now I ride motorcycle, so I don't touch booze; I don't particularly like loud music - lets me feel very disconnected from all those people around me that I am supposed to socialize with.)
So while I eagerly and dutifully attended the first event or so, I soon started to avoid those events, or leave as soon as politely possible. In general, I started to feel somewhat alienated from the company culture due to that what the "social troika" projected, which was very non-technical and generally on a more ("let's party") superficial level than I really had time for. My eyes were finally opened when I took part in some competition, became one of around 20 finalists, was invited to some off-site event (involving, as you may guess, food, (some) booze and socializing), and my project manager didn't want to let me off for those 4 hours - seemed that company culture wasn't part of his project team's culture, after all. Now, this event was quite heavy with CxOs/assorted other directors/spouses etc. - not people you'd really want to snub. On the other hand, they probably were the ones that could afford a morning away from work :-)
I think that the difference with your anecdote is that this team was hired for the purpose, they didn't grow into it. So the mileage results may differ... (Still, kudos for trying.)
After a while, I started to realize that the company tries very hard (and probably successfully - it worked on me initially) to market itself as THE place to work. (Free office snacks, and Youtube videos with actual employees speaking in the most glowing terms of it, come to mind). But I did notice after a few months that people generally had some gripes with working conditions (if asked in less-guarded moments), and that shifting people between projects on short notice and without much explanation did manage to mask some of the turnover. But you know, turnover isn't that much of a problem if you constantly have bright young things knocking at your door that are eager to prove that they are one of "the best" working at "the best" company, regardless of all the all-nighters, bad legacy code and environmental systems, procedural BS, and all the other ills one reads about on /. . It's almost like the emperor's new clothes, and nobody dares point out that he is naked.
I'm not working there any more.