BTW: brands are a lot older than 150 years old. Take Beretta (500 years), Vacheron Constantin (250 years), Moxon Huddersfield (400 years), etc...
Yes, these companies
are more than 150 years old, so you are technically correct. However, the concept of a brand, which is promoted and popularized through mass advertising, is really only 150 years old. Prior to that time, companies developed their reputation based on the products themselves, as well as (occasionally) clever marketing. In the context of Ralph Lauren, his rise has been driven by mass advertising, along with his sense of style and often impeccable timing in anticipating fashion trends.
If you wear sneakers, aren't you advertising for them as well?
Well, I only wear sneakers when I'm exercising or doing something that requires athletic shoes. Of course I'm advertising for them, since they all have logos. Doesn't mean I'm happy about it. But, to each his own.