In the sense that security guards at an airport are part of the ‘security theater‘ – for e.g., the guard mechanically moving a beeping baton across your crotch for explosives might not actually reduce the risk of a terrorist attack as much it makes people feel secure that someone is doing something to reduce the threat of terrorism.
Advertising plays a similar role. It creates a ‘freedom theater’ for the creatively inclined within the system. In the straight jacketed world of corporate hypocrisy, the capitalist system has advertising in its midst to let go of steam of the most dangerous lot of people; the people with imagination. Imagine if all the creative folks who could be thinking of utopias, who could write dangerous ideas of alternatives to ‘status-quo’ were let to do that. Instead, they get hired in corporate jobs. ‘Hey. I get to think of ideas and get paid for it too!’. In an anarchist, communist society, ideas would be freely shared without any premium. In a capitalist world, ideas and even half-baked perspectives are worth millions in speculative dollars.
Entering offices wearing T-shirt of our choice creates that false sense of freedom. There’s that sense of being not a machine yet. It is superficial, but we at least have that.