I agree...I have no doubt that big brands have the same treatment as everyone else... lets remember that these are algorithms not humans going to each site and taking actions (for the most part), HOWEVER, we have heard of many big names who have been hit by this or that only to return to 'normal' in an extremely short amount of time. It only makes sense they have direct contact with someone at Google whereas the average person will NEVER get a response other than a copy/paste message.
I personally have a site which was removed from the search early in 2012. This site had been fine since 2004-2005'ish. There WMT message simply referred me to a guidelines page. After reading over the page and agreeing with everything on it I then began to try and figure out WHAT on the page I was suspected of doing. I could not and still cannot determine what they think I am violating. I have and always will be white hat and have looked at my site in the eyes of others, googles, and even asked other people and cannot remotely come up with anything that has been 'violated'. Numerous (probably 10 or so) reconsideration requests have been made PLEADING for someone to actually respond and tell me what they do not like or see as a problem. Guess what? Every time I am refused and every time I get the EXACT same response pointing me to the stupid guidelines page. Oh, and I can use the Google forums for more assistance... yeah freaking right... everyone and their mom knows you will get NO help at those forums as its a bunch of regular people with opinions that do not try and help at all... Google needs to INTERACT with us especially in cases where we are accused or directly affected by their actions so we in turn can take actions. As far as I know nobody can read minds yet so a simple human response to help people out would and could go a long way, BUT I guess you need be a big boy or have an article in the paper or media somewhere for them to respond.