Very true about the corporate DNA. I've had major b&m brands in the course of an optimizing project remove keywords that were added. Often, by the time an optimized site gets through marketing, legal, and various department heads, it's virtually back to what it was before you started.
This latter point should be noted in relation to the ranking examples cited by the original poster and others within this thread. In the searches mentioned, there were obvious algorithmic reasons why the pages that were ranking were ranking. Nothing mystical or preferential about it.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:38 am (utc) on Feb. 25, 2009]