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Do people care about brand name so much?...or do people do on-line reviews....??
In general, yes. On one specific purchase, it depends on how invested they are in the purchase and their budget. For example, it will raise the hair on the back of a foodie's neck if you suggested replacing their Hagen Das Chocolate ice cream with a generic store brand, regardless of how similar the taste is to you, but that same person will have no problem wearing store-brand jeans over Levis because they're not as invested in purchasing clothes.
Brands also hold a big sway over consumers when they're out of their comfort zone, particularly when they're going into debt to make the purchase, like with high-end electronics or automobiles, and usually without entering into their conscious decision-making process. Even a well-informed consumer can be swayed by brand identification. Advertising has become less about selling a product, and much more about selling the brand through an identification with a lifestyle or ethos (technological or otherwise) tailored to be attractive to likely buyers. And since you're reading this on the web, most likely that advertising is reaching you. If you live in an industrialized nation, it's inescapable. Sneer at it if you like, but think very hard about what might have influenced any recent purchase in which you were presented with two like products of different brands.