Granted, the advertising certainly has an impact on human activity (that's the point) but it is hardy brainwashing, any more than any other form of data availability. People are not forced to "Pay"....you do not give much credit to our ability to think....
You are quite right, I do not give much credit to most people's ability to think.
Human beings have never been much good at thinking, and modern techniques of brainwashing and conditioning people have reduced their critical abilities.
Modern American totalitarianism is "mass totalitarianism", not like the more primitive totalitarianism of Hitler or Stalin. It does not demand that every individual exposed to its sinister influence comply, any more than a factory demands that every product that it manufactures meets certain standards. It accepts a certain percentage of "wastage" so long as a definite percentage of profits is maintained.
It does not demand that you buy every product with which it seduces you; as long as certain levels of consumption are maintained in society in general, you will be permitted to be not completely a consumer zombie.