Reflection On Ethnography

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Ethnography Reflection
For this ethnography of advertising, I chose to conduct my observations during a regular school day. Even without going out of my way to search for ads, I still encountered an abundance of advertising. These ads ranged from online ads on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, to advertisements in public spaces such as the UC Berkeley campus and public transportation systems such as BART. Prior to conducting this ethnography, I was unprepared for the number of ads I would encounter on this very normal day. At certain points of the day, the influx of ads became so overwhelming to process. By showcasing a few examples of the type of ads I confronted during this day, I will describe how the role and
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Prior to this assignment, I had an inkling that my phone, and its access to social media platforms, would account for a large portion of my daily advertisements. Algorithmically, Instagram places one in-feed ad approximately between every ten new posts you scroll through. Throughout my entire day, I scrolled through at least 7 in-feed Instagram ads. In this, no two ads were alike. Ads ranged from showing Clorox’s Purex product to an Equitone ad promoting new apartment complexes in Belgium. In retrospect, Instagram successfully places their ads in such a fashion that is unobtrusive to the user. Due to this seamless user experience, brands who lean into the popularized Instagram aesthetics have the potential to foster more engagement/impressions with consumers. This is because most frequent users are passively familiar with the style of posts similar to the ones shown in the ads. To explain this concept further, take for example one of the ads I encountered: the Thomas Breakfast Bagel ad. The bagel ad promoting the upcoming “National Bagel Day” stylistically makes use of the patterned food photography techniques that are common on Instagram, especially among Instagram food communities. The first time I scrolled past the ad, I had to scroll back up to check to see if it was indeed an ad. This double-take was because, like many of the other food Instagram accounts I follow, Thomas Breakfast Bagels mimic the same content I would normally see on the social media platform. As I became hyper-aware of my actions online, I realized that I was becoming far too passive to the ads shown in my feed. At times, I would actually catch myself accidentally ‘liking’ advertising content on Instagram because I had become so trained to automatically ‘like’ pictures that are were familiar to
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