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ADVERTISING a collective term for public announcements designed to promote the sale of specific products or services. Advertising is a form of mass selling employed when the use of direct, person-to-person selling is impractical, impossible, or simply inefficient. It is to be distinguished from other activities intended to persuade the public, such as propaganda, publicity, and public relations. Advertising techniques range in complexity from the publishing of simple notices in the classified-advertising columns of newspapers to integrated marketing communications, involving the concerted use of advertising in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio, as well as direct response, sales promotion, and other communications vehicles in the course of a single campaign. From its unsophisticated beginnings in ancient times, advertising has flourished into a worldwide industry. In the U.S. alone in the early 1990s, about $138 billion was spent in a single year on advertising to influence the purchase of products and services.

Advertising falls into two main categories: consumer advertising, directed to the ultimate purchaser, and trade (or business-to-business) advertising, in which the appeal is made to business users through trade journals and other media.

Both consumer and trade advertising employ many specialised types of commercial persuasion. A relatively minor, but important, form of advertising is institutional (or image) advertising, designed solely to build prestige and public respect for particular items. Each year millions are spent on institutional advertising, which usually mentions products or services only incidentally. Another minor, but increasingly popular, form of advertising is co-operative advertising, in which the manufacturer shares the expense of local television, radio, or newspaper advertising with the retailer who signs the advertisement. National advertisers occasionally share the same space in magazine ...

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