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Advertising is a kind of commercial communication in which a product, service, or concept is promoted or sold via the use of an explicitly sponsored, non-personal message. Sponsors of advertising are often firms that want to market their own goods or services to potential customers. Advertising differs from public relations in that an advertiser pays for the message and has complete control over the content of the communication. A significant distinction between it and personal selling is that the message is non-personal, that is, it is not addressed at a specific individual. Advertising is communicated through a variety of mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising, and direct mail, as well as new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites, and text messages. Traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising, and direct mail are examples of traditional media. An advertising is the actual display of the message through a media, and it is defined as follows: (advert or ad for short).

Through "branding," which involves associating a product name or image with certain traits in the minds of customers, commercial advertising often strive to boost consumption of their goods or services. Direct-response advertising, on the other hand, refers to advertisements that are intended to generate an instant sale. Government agencies and political parties are examples of non-commercial enterprises that market more than consumer items or services. Other examples include interest groups, religious organisations, and religious organisations that are not for profit. Public service announcements, for example, are free and may be used by non-profit groups to persuade people. Additionally, advertising may assist in assuring workers or shareholders that a firm is financially sustainable or profitable.

Modern advertising began with the strategies established with cigarette promotion in the 1920s, most notably with the campaigns of Edward Bernays, who is widely regarded as the "Father of Madison Avenue" advertising and the "Father of Modern Advertising."

Approximately US$529.43 billion was spent on advertising in the world in 2015, according to estimates. According to projections, 40.4 percent of advertising would be distributed via television, 33.3 percent through digital, 9 percent through newspapers, 6.9 percent through magazines, 5.8 percent through outdoor, and 4.3 percent through radio. Dentsu, Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis, and WPP are the world's major advertising agency groups, collectively referred to as the "Big Five."

Advertere is a Latin word that meaning "to turn toward."