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Reviewing Emily in Paris from a Public Relations & Communications Perspective

By Micaela Ryan, Creative Content Producer

Bonjour! By now you have probably seen or heard of the Netflix hit show Emily in Paris, a rom-com series starring Lily Collins. Since its release on October 2, 2020, the series has become one of the top 10 shows on the streaming service and has been compared to the 2000’s HBO hit Sex and the City. If you’re a SATC fan that’s seen Emily in Paris, you’ve probably spotted some subtle-and not so subtle-nods to the iconic show.

With all that being said, we are not here to talk about the comparison between Emily in Paris and Sex and the City rather, I want to analyze the show from a unique standpoint. This type of drama has various stereotypes that are realistic and unrealistic for people in the PR and Communications industry.

Being a communications student who also does work in public relations (PR) & advertising has allowed me to analyze the story from a communications and public relations perspective. Plenty of basic concepts and strategies of PR and communications are shown throughout the show.

Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) is a marketing executive at a Chicago firm who suddenly has to move to work at Savoir, a Parisian luxury marketing firm, due to her boss being unable to relocate. Focusing on social media strategy, her task is to bring the American marketing point of view to Paris. Once she arrives in the City of Lights, she changes her Instagram username to @emilyinparis. This is when her story begins. Below are some PR and communications concepts I picked up while binge watching the show:

1. Social Media Branding

One of the main themes within the show is the importance of brands’ social media accounts in a digital era. The content that Lilly shares on her Instagram is responsible for numerous plot points throughout the series. Every client that she works with is featured on her social media. Not only do communications professionals create content for themselves, but they are also the voices behind their clients brands on social media. Communications professionals have to wear many different hats when it comes to branding their clients. Having strong and effective social media strategies to connect with their audience strengthens their business goals.

2. Do Your Client Research

Whenever you are working on a new client or company, make sure to take the time to study and learn about the company culture. If you're working in the marketing department, you have to know who your audience is and how to market their products well. Everything you create and promote has to be compelling, sensitive to the audience, and consistent to the brand. For example, when Emily was invited to the influencer event as an influencer, she was a real fan of the makeup account. She made sure the content she created reflected why she liked the account, and what she knew the company was all about. Her research and content resulted in the company noticing that she was not there just for the experience or the paycheck. Companies want to work with influencers or marketers who are real, authentic, and advocate for their products and brands. By doing research prior to attending events, you can catch the attention of a certain company you love, just like Emily did in the show.

3. Elevator Pitches

When it comes to PR and marketing, you have to be clear and concise in pitching ideas or concepts to your clients. Emily frequently makes creative pitches to her clients, something we can learn from by watching the show. There will be a time when it is hard to convince a client, especially if they are skeptical and hard to please, but that’s why marketing or advertising is both challenging and fun.

Emily in Paris highlights some of the key elements of the PR and Communications industry, such as knowing your audience, creating valuable content, understanding quality over quantity, navigating influencer marketing, and the importance of cultural perspective. Even though there were some unrealistic PR and Communications perspectives, it still is an entertaining show with many truths. Go watch Emily in Paris if you haven't already!

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