CASE mentioned this in the Reddington reels thread....he bought a hat that said Reddington.
My personal thought is that if I were to spend ~$500 on a rod or reel, then the company would throw in the $20 hat, $10 coffee mug, or $20 shirt. I would think of it as good/effective advertising. I may not be able to see what type of rod a guy is casting at 40 yards, but I would be able to see a Sage logo.
Buying and wearing hats from local shops/forums like this is the exception. It supports the business by helping to get the word out.
Am I out in right field on this one. Maybe it has something to do with my brigade of hats in the closet. My wife mentioned something to me about it a month ago and I quickly switched to the "Shoe" Defense