Woman in particular have been assaulted with ads, informing them of problems they did not know they had until the they were told so:
The gist of the article is that U.S. women were browbeaten into shaving underarm hair by a sustained marketing assault that began in 1915. (Leg hair came later.) The aim of what Hope calls the Great Underarm Campaign was to inform American womanhood of a problem that till then it didn't know it had, namely unsightly underarm hair.Another example: vaginal cleansing advertisements. I am certain your vagina is not supposed to smell like a fresh meadow.
There is a BBC documentary called The Century of The Self which touches upon all of this. It is about Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud's American nephew that; helped tie smoking to the woman's rights movement, increased Betty Croker sales by adding an egg to their instant mix, worked for Woodrow Wilson, and established the idea that people needed objects to express their inner self to others. Simply put, he was able to influence large amounts of people through linking products with the unconscious fears of people.
This is the exploitative foundation that modern advertising has been built on top of.