I've often wondered whether and how expensive advertising shoots, massive sponsorship investments or extravagant events could be justified by brands on a per capita basis.  How could the spending possibly yield a sufficient number of inquiries, clicks or purchases? 

Turns out, according to one theory looking at the Native American tradition of 'potlatch' ceremonies - where wealth is literally given away and/or burned - the value may be in the fact such extravagance cannot be faked.  Only a company truly committed to brand over the long run could afford such investment, and the larger the budget, the stronger the message. 

Plausible, but I'd like to see some data behind it. 

What do you think?