"Advertising has transformed commodities into objects significant not because of their intrinsic material, utilitarian, or esthetic qualities, but for their expressive power. Working mainly through images and associations, advertising invests commodities with power to relieve anxieties, gratify fantasies, carry meanings, express feelings, and confer moral and spiritual value. By emphasizing the nonmaterial properties of commodities and associating them with the psychological and emotional needs and desires of consumers, modern marketing has mystified consumption in a far more fundamental way than Santa Claus ever did. Perhaps the most obvious way in which the religious function of advertising can be discerned, it skillfully plants a sense of inadequacy, insecurity, sin, guilt, or shame, for which it then presents the remedy (redemption, salvation, relief, absolution) in the acquisition of certain products. In consumer capitalism one gains salvation by the acquisition of products."

-from the chapter "Christmas, the festival of Consumer Capitalism" in Religion and Empire by Richard A. Horsely