Emily in Paris – a marketer’s review

Emily in Paris - review

I must say, there is no other TV series that got so much attention in our team as Emily in Paris. It’s the newest Netflix’ show and it’s about a Chicago girl who moves to Paris to do social media marketing for the French. 

Well, it hit close to home, because a big part of our team shares her experiences – many of us lived in Paris and / or studied in the City of Lights, we all do marketing for the French lifestyle clients. We had a very heated discussion and the opinions within the team were divided – ranging from quelle horreur to “so bad that it’s actually good” and “shut up, I liked it”. 

Either way, there are some misconceptions about social media marketing and living in Paris, but fear not, we are here, your French marketing myth busters – to the rescue, ready to give the series a review from a marketing point of view. Let’s go!

 It’s not THAT easy to become an influencer anymore

Emily takes pictures, writes a catchy caption on the spot and her following grows like Topsy, from 48 up to 20k in 5th episode. If it was a documentary and not a romanticized variation on a life of a marketer, Emily would have to put a lot more effort into her profile – just taking pictures takes ages if you want them to look good in the highly competitive influencer market, not to mention photo and video editing, collabs, paid advertising (especially in the beginning) and often maintaining presence in other media than Instagram. In 2020 it’s almost impossible to unintentionally become a professional influencer – one builds one’s following step by step, starting from being a microinfluencer 

Emily in Paris


That’s not a chambre de bonne! 

In the past years Paris has become infamous for its tiny and overpriced living spaces. The cheapest apartments in Paris’ city centers are chambres de bonne – rooms for servants, located on the top floor of the building, in the attic, often with a shared bathroom, cold in the winter, hot in the summer, between 6 and 12 square meters – Emily’s place is twice as big!

Emily in paris gif


Is she even working? 

The immaculate pastel office space, tidy desks, designer spaces and going out for lunches for hours – that is not the agency life we know. True, we like pretty spaces and we make sure we work in nice offices, but once we move in, there is a mayhem of sketches, post-its, accessories and weird items that we use for photo shooting. And it’s okay to take your time to go out for lunch, but there is always work to do, and having a lunch that is longer than usual, means working overtime. And that’s not only us – agency life is hectic

Besides, social media are not only about pictures and ideas – there are a hella lot of reports, tables, charts, data analysis, cross-channel campaigns – your ideas should translate into conversions, conversions should translate into business and business should translate into money. And this last part seems to be missing in Emily’s work.

And one last thing: every second scene we are being reminded how inadequate Emily feels without knowing the culture and the language. It’s not easy to come up with creative marketing ideas when you don’t know the cultural context and your audience – but all Emily does are creative ideas and there is very little hard analytical skills involved. 

Emily in Paris animated gif


You don’t get lingerie from clients

But if the client is happy with your work, you may get a nice (and appropriate) Christmas gift – usually it’s a set of client’s products. We always appreciate them both as a gift and as a token of good cooperation.

Emily in Paris animated gif


Myth: The French are not nice

We have only one answer for that:

France nice people meme


Myth: Luxury brands don’t do social media marketing

This is an outdated idea. In 2018 Kerring, the owner of Gucci, admitted that they spent half of their marketing budget on digital marketing. The same numbers are quoted by Louis Vuitton’s CEO Michael Burke – in 2018 they spent 50% of their budget on online marketing, including social media.


Running social media for a client doesn’t work like this. 

Emily spontaneously takes slightly risque pictures, posts it on clients’ social media and my palms sweat. No no no no. Sweet lord, it doesn’t work like this. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Everything you see on brands’ social media is (or should be) planned, well-thought and accepted by the client. The only moment when it can be a bit spontaneous is a real time marketing, when brands’ communication aligns with the current, short-lived trends, online challenges or events – but even then the client has to give you the green light. 

Emily in Paris animated gif


It’s not about followers, it’s about the engagement. 

This is actually true – in the first meeting with her new parisian marketing team Emily announces that she wants to create a meaningful communication that is not about the number of followers, but it’s about engagement and interest. Well, we can’t agree more. Times when the number of followers mattered are long gone. A community of 10k engaged with your brand is better than a disengaged following of one million, because it translates better into business. But the best and the most effective thing ever is a multi-channel strategy where various channels and technologies are orchestrated and complement each other.

Being into Emily’s business, we had to comment and be a little nit-picky (a shout out to all doctors watching Grey’s Anatomy!). But all in all, it’s a happy-go-lucky series, full of picturesque sets and beautiful people, good for long autumn evenings, and quite enjoyable if you take it with a pinch of salt.