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Advertising is the process of attempting to draw sales and attendance to a product, event, service (etc.) through placing messages in public media like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites, billboards, on buses and trains or anywhere else it may be exposed to the public. Adverts have a variety of approaches: some are purely informational, while others use various emotional signals to the viewer to entice them - playing to their fear, anxiety, lust, desire to differentiate themselves from the crowd, anger or guilt. Adverts also attempt to build brand loyalty or image. In recent years, advertising has been thought to get much more embedded in society: with advertisments appearing in restrooms, product placement in television and film, the use of spam, SMS, social networking, viral marketing and user-generated content for advertising and marketing.

An opposition to advertising and branding has been a component of many anti-consumerist campaigns, including Buy Nothing Day, the Adbusters magazine and Naomi Klein's No Logo.