For instance, as budget-conscious consumers stayed home to eat, companies like ConAgra, General Mills, Heinz, Hershey, Kraft and Smucker increased ad spending in the first quarter by 12.4 to 81.2 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to data from the Kantar Media unit of WPP.

From the NYT piece on the upcoming Dash mag/insert.

When I read statistics like this, I can’t help but wonder – how much of this extra spend in advertising has affected me and my peers?  Are we staying home to eat because we want to, or because subconsciously we’ve gotten the glossy approval of mass media?