I've been going to some careers fairs and thinking about marketing and advertising recently, and one of the companies that struck me most was M&C Saatchi. Their adverts stood out from everyone else's, as did their slogan 'brutal simplicity of thought'. This reminded me of a blog post by Antrepo (a design consultancy) which featured product packaging redesigned in minimalist fashion. The results are quite striking - in almost every case I prefer a more simplified design to the one that is actually in use, and it made me realise how complex the original designs are.
Of course, there are other issues at play in the packaging and design a company chooses for any particular product - food has to include nutritional information, and brands want to have an identity - but I think there is a lot of room for greater simplicity. If brands want to stand out then simple and beautiful design is one way to do so. I suspect most consumers are so used to being overwhelmed with advertising and marketing information that they don't properly register most of what is presented to them anyway, and a 'brutally simple' minimalist design - at least on the front of the packaging - would actually stand out better than clutter.
On the other hand, I also suspect this contradicts a lot of the advice that major corporations receive. Great design is rare enough that companies such as Apple and Dyson can make it a defining feature of their brands, and charge much greater sums of money as a result.