This chapter examines what advertising has to say and how it is said in the assortment of channels that make up the media system. It looks at advertising's effects on American manners and morals within the scheme of national values in which it is embedded and which it expresses. Advertising epitomizes the spirit of American commercial culture, which ranks material possessions high and assigns them a prominent place in everyday life. But what is advertised is not a mirror image of what is consumed. Advertising is a driving force in America's productive market economy; its history is closely linked to that of the mass media. It is a pervasive, intrusive element of media content, fragmenting communication and purveying messages that go beyond direct persuasion on behalf of whatever it sells. Advertising's hyperbole and distorted world view affect all social and political discourse. Advertising encourages focusing attention on the individual wants and away from the needs.