Funny mention shoes because brand I went with most past decade or so would be New Balance and I have never seen a New Balance ad. I tried them out one time after having trouble with Nike and others (have a wide flat foot and size 12 to 13). Most other companies even their wide versions have high arcs on heels. I tried New Balance at store putting aside my these are old people shoes bias and found out they were comfortable. Maybe one person recommended them to me but think switch was due to frustration with other brands. I still wear Nikes but have to get a size or two bigger some reason they inflate their shoe size to make people feel better?
I honestly have never seen a New Balance ad that I can remember yet I ended up gravitating to the company. Plus their big size shoes are still made in USA.
My parents wear NB and have for like a decade now, maybe more. They tried them because of the commercials. I remember mom pointing them out when they were on TV because she was so impressed with them after she bought her first pair. Nike and Adidas shoes were getting more and more expensive but weren't lasting near as long, so they tried NB and loved them. Even though I have wider somewhat flat feet as well, the NB didn't have enough arch for me. I ended up finding a Reebok that fit quite well, and went back like 6 months later since they seemed durable, and bought enough for years. I eventually went back to Adidas since the prices got a little better but the quality went way up.
I don't doubt you didn't see ads because I also remember mom saying the lady at the store was surprised to hear she had seen an ad because they were not a very well known brand and didn't market much. Maybe it was just a Canada or southern Ontario thing. We used to always watch the local news channel which was really small scale (which no longer exists), so maybe that was where we saw it. Wouldn't have cost NB much to advertise there.