I think branding definitely has a huge impact on the consumer, espiecially today as the branding of a product is usually aimed at it's specific consumer, such as Pot Noodles are aimed at students and the lower/middle class. If a products design isn't slick, then generally it could be regarded as tacky.
Consuming as a whole was at an all time high in the USA in the 1920's, straight after the First World War. This was some-what due to the fact that mass production came about, which meant that things, such as cars and radios, could be produced very quickly, and also cheaply, meaning they could be sold for a lot less, and therefore it opened up a consumer society in which lower class people could actually afford things that originally only the rich could.
Styles and fashions started forming, people began to feel the need to purchase every new item to improve their identity. New products were being produced, and this method of consumerism is still used today in every company, such as Apple. This method of bringing out new, desirable products is what makes consumerism work and benefit the economy, for example Apple have brought out about two new iPhones per year for the past four years, making consumers want to spend money on flashy phones to enhance their identity, even when they don't exactly have the money. This also is impacted as the new updates that Apple bring out for each phone often eventually slow down the phone, so the consumer will want to upgrade to a new, quicker model.