Now in 2013, The Atlantic, no less, has discovered that marketing firms can take advantage of social science skills, including participant observation, too, and published a nice story about it here.
But perhaps they are a little late to the revelation. I suspect that they could have walked across the hall to where advertising is sold for their magazine, and made the very same discovery, as indeed, cigarette manufacturers did decades ago! But, I guess better late than never.
And for social scientists inclined toward such jobs, I suspect such stories are a relief from a sometimes discouraging academic job market!
Tony Waters is czar and editor of Ethnography.com. He came to us from the Sociology department at California State University at Chico where he has been a professor since 1996. In 2016 though he suddenly found himself with a new gig at Payap University in northern Thailand where he is on the faculty of the Peace Studies Department. He has also been a guest professor in Germany, and Tanzania. In the past, his main interests have been international development and refugees in Thailand, Tanzania, and California. This reflects a former career in the Peace Corps (Thailand), and refugee camps (Thailand and Tanzania). His books include: Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), Bureaucratizing the Good Samaritan (2001), The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture: Life Beneath of the Marketplace (2007), When Killing is a Crime (2007), and Schooling, Bureaucracy, and Childhood: Bureaucratizing the Child (2012). His hobby is trying to learn strange languages–and the mistakes that that implies. Tony is a prolific academic, you can read more of his work at academia.edu.or purchase one (or more!) of his books from Amazon.com.