The creator of the beloved ‘90210’ and ‘Sex And The City’ brings the popular ‘Emily In Paris’ to Netflix. If you’re not up with the show, Emily In Paris tells the story of a young, aspiring marketing consultant, Emily Cooper, who is sent to Paris to work at a boutique French marketing agency in place of her pregnant boss.

Here at Think Communications, we thoroughly enjoyed watching and debriefing on each episode. We loved the escapist viewing from the beautiful clothes to the beautiful people and oh the romance! However, it did get us thinking about the accurate representation of a marketing career in shows and movies.

A survey by ZenBusiness saw 58% of respondents say their career had been at least slightly inspired by a book, TV show, movie, podcast or video game. Respondents also believe their occupation is inaccurately portrayed in movies and TV, suggesting their jobs were more time-consuming and challenging than what media makes out.

For anyone aspiring to be the next Emily Cooper, we’ve highlighted what we believe the show got right, and wrong, about agency life.

Let’s kick off on a positive note with a few things that ‘Emily In Paris’ got right about a career in marketing and advertising.

She Spoke Up When She Had An Idea

Emily was not afraid to innovate and frequently offered a different point of view. A career in this industry thrives on creativity, inspiration and ideas to conceive creative solutions to promote products, increase brand awareness and build reputations. While we all have different levels of experience and knowledge, anyone and everyone should speak up when they have an idea.

This is seen when Emily came up with the campaign “To Sleep Under The Stars” for the mattress company account after visiting an art museum featuring Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”. Emily bravely pitches her idea to the mattress company to set up a bed in the most Insta-worthy places in the city to let real people post pictures of themselves on it, AKA user-generated content.

She Builds Meaningful Connections With Clients And Networks

Emily is excellent at networking both personally and professionally, taking the time to understand what each business stands for and what their purpose is.

When she was invited to the influencer event for Duree Cosmetics, her content reflected why she personally liked the business and showed that she wasn’t just there for the exposure or bonuses. She then goes on to become an ambassador for the brand which shows that businesses often want to work with micro-influencers who are real, authentic and advocate for their products.

We enjoyed this representation of PR, and thought it reflected the value of being genuine – something we always strive to be. Typically, PR consultants don’t cross the line into being influencers or brand ambassadors personally, however for a TV show idea it was a lot of fun.

Now onto to what we believe the show got wrong.

Emily Didn’t Spend the Time to Understand The French Market or Target Audiences

What works in one country might not work in another, but when marketing internationally, it’s important to understand perspectives and approaches for successful and appropriate campaigns. These differences are what make our audiences, competitors and marketing campaigns unique.

It’s quite clear in the show that Emily didn’t understand how the French try to do things, not making an effort to truly understand the target audience for the businesses she works with and  what motivates their buying habits.

Her character also didn’t make an effort to learn the language, and yet the whole office spoke English throughout the show. In our opinion, this would be an unlikely situation.

We Didn’t See A Single Strategy Or Approval Process

We often see Emily posting pictures and hashtags at random but what value was she providing? What objectives was she working towards? There are no scenes of her conducting any research, so she might not even know!

At Think, we start all client projects with a detailed marketing strategy development phase, identifying the target market, understanding their behaviours and motivations, identifying the best platforms and approaches to use. We don’t just post on social for the sake of it – everything we do is aligned to client’s overarching business goal.

She also often posted images directly to the clients’ accounts without having the image or copy approved first. Emily takes a picture of the Pierre Cadault dress lying on the floor amongst other party mess and posts it to Instagram with the hashtag #AboutLastNight. While we understand the importance of occasional spontaneous and real-time posting, it is rare that a company as large as Pierre Cadault would allow someone access to the account prior to bringing the agency on board.

With normal communication and approval protocols in place at your typical agency, all social posts are planned, well thought out and accepted by the client before posting. Even an off-the-cuff post to make the most of an opportunity would still follow agreed upon messaging and guidelines.

Social Media Growth, Metrics & More

Social media is more than a series of picture-perfect moments, but you probably didn’t pick that up from Emily. What we saw instead was an exaggerated growth of her Instagram account and a poor use of hashtags. Speaking of Instagram, we didn’t see or hear her mention any other platforms. What about Facebook and LinkedIn?

Emily was the only one in the Paris team in favour of and knew how to use social media which fed into ageism stereotypes in the social media industry that if you’re young you must know everything about social media. Her co-workers are even heard commenting on “new guard” and “old guard” when it comes to these ways of working.

We didn’t see Emily interact or engage with her followers to build a sense of community, instead she used a push strategy when it came to her one-way messaging of telling the French audience in France what to do. She tended to favour vanity metrics such as likes and followers however in reality, we know that building a social media presence isn’t  just about pictures and ideas. Audience feedback, analytics, real time data, brand awareness, loyalty and credibility are incredibly important KPIs to be reporting and tracking to ensuring lead generation and conversions.

While we do have the occasional wine over lunch, which seems to be a daily occurrence for Emily, our days mostly consist of delivering content calendars, campaign brainstorming, strategy revisions, ad-hoc requests from clients, developing PR strategies, data analysis, report writing and more… and we love it.

Our industry analysis aside,  all we can say is that we can’t wait to see what season two will bring!