1. What was it like taking a walk when you were actually paying attention to ads?
  • In French culture, they call a “city walker who admires their surroundings” a flâneur or flâneuse. I studied in Paris my freshman year of college and had a beautiful flânerie experience. Being a flâneuse in Downtown Los Angeles was quite different. It was more difficult to physically walk while paying attention to the ads. People here live a much faster lifestyle and tend to want to get from one place to the other in no time. It was hard to look at ads and fully understand the concept behind them. I think the reason why there were so many billboards and lots of wall installations is because of the fast LA lifestyle. Also, my neighborhood is quite busy because it is in DTLA; perhaps, this exercise would have been different in a suburban neighborhood (lack of ads and more walk time).
  1. 2) Reflect on the advertising you saw the most of.
  • I saw many ads about the new television show Santa Clarita Diet and was truly shocked with how many advertisements and billboards there were. There’s a massive installation of this ad on Figueroa. Seeing it so much that day made me want to see the new Netflix show because of how many times I saw it.

3) The main themes of the ads

  • The main themes of the ads were appeals to pathos, appeals to ethos (lots of ads by bus stops with facts regarding car crashes etc), sex, food, and violence. There were also some advertisements which presented gory elements (like Santa Clarita Diet) but intermingled this with a food theme — which is perfect for LA foodies.

4) What did the ads say about the neighborhood?

  • The advertisements said a lot about the neighborhood in a sense where I could finally understand the demographics of Downtown L.A. The sprawling and booming city is being reborn at the moment. A lot of hipster crowds and rich executives tend to live in DTLA apartments. Their likes and dislikes definitely matter and I noticed how these were taken into account through the ways in which the ads were placed, especially around Figueroa.

5) How did the ads make you feel about the products and services they were advertising?

– Some television advertisements made me want to watch the show they were advertising. There are other advertisements that serve as a reminder of an already loved brand. For example, there is a huge Coca-Cola bottle advertised on the JW Marriott hotel’s building. It reminded me of wanting to grab a Coke during my walk due to the unusually hot weather that day. Moreover, car crash advertisements are a staple to LA’s car and driving culture. They present a real problem in Los Angeles while also reminding and informing audiences of this unfortunate circumstances.