Blame my distaste of broccoli on advertising. Or the lack thereof.

I have always believed that massive amounts of money are wasted on advertising. The highway billboard, the late-night restaurant commercial, and the scented magazine ad have always seemed ridiculous to me. Intelligent people like me are immune to the mundane and transparent trappings of the advertising world. This is what I have always assumed.

Apparently I was wrong.

Stanford University researchers recently learned that anything made by McDonald's tastes better to preschoolers, according to a study that demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children. Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids if it was wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches. The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald's foods in name-brand or unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.

In addition, the strength of the branding was directly linked to the number of televisions in the child’s home. The greater the number of televisions, the stronger the branding.

It makes me wonder how my life might have been different had the International Fruit and Vegetable Alliance done a better job promoting leafy, green vegetables when I was a kid.