Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand over the last couple of weeks, you’ll likely have heard about Netflix’s new series Emily In Paris, a 10-episode romantic comedy series about a social media obsessed Chicago marketer who finds herself on a surprise secondment at a French marketing firm.
So far, so good, right? I was drawn in by parallels it draws to my all-time favourite TV show, Sex and the City. Apparently, Emily has the iconic fashion sense of Carrie (she doesn’t), there’s a Big-style romance (not quite) and the timeless girl power of Manhattan’s fiercest foursome that we’re promised is mirrored by Emily and her Parisian pals, well, just…isn’t.
But beyond the missed marks of weak characters and diluted plots, there’s one MAJOR issue I have with Emily and her time in Paris – the fact that she’s a so-called social media specialist and yet CAN’T SEEM TO PROPERLY USE SOCIAL MEDIA?!
OK. Issue number one. The show sees Emily’s social following skyrocket each episode, a dizzying journey of exponential growth which is seemingly supercharged by a not-so-strategic series of random posts such as a solitary croissant and generic postcard photos of Paris. To steal a phrase from the show, they are trés ringarde — or in British social media terms – basic AF. So how, you might rightly ask, does her following grow from a mere 48 followers to hundreds of thousands?!
Nuh-uh, she did not just get 2,000 extra followers from Instagramming a picture of some cheese. If becoming an influencer were this easy, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD would be an influencer
— Helen Coffey (@LenniCoffey) October 5, 2020
This brings me smoothly onto issue number two; her terrible posts. Emily shows no strategic consideration for optimum post times, algorithm alignment, content formats – even avoiding using Geotags – and yet somehow racks up thousands of new followers per day? As for her merde captions – “yum yum carbs”? Don’t even get me started.
And then there are the hashtags. Oh, the hashtags. Are we really expected to believe that any self-respecting social media expert doesn’t understand hashtags? Beyond using completely random and obscure hashtags, Emily actually uses apostrophes in her hashtags. Need I say any more?
emily in paris is cute but do they really expect us to believe she posted like 5 pictures of paris on twitter and got 1k followers and then works in social media strategies but used a hashtag with an apostrophe in
— sam 🦇 (@ssuccubitch) October 2, 2020
Onto issue number quatre – nobody in the show bats an eyelid that Emily photographs strangers (including children) without their knowledge or permission and posts them – totally unobscured – on her grid. Sure, she means no harm – but c’mon Emily. It’s mean, it’s rude and you KNOW you shouldn’t be doing it.
We also need to talk about the complete and total disregard for any kind of KPI setting, metric measurement or reporting of any kind. Really? These luxury Paris brands are signing away almost millions of pounds of budget without even the faintest interest in an ROI? At one point early in the series, Emily boasts about marketing a vaccine that then increased tourism to the Virgin Islands. Besides the fact that that itself isn’t success for a vaccine company, flights to the Virgin Islands would simply never be a KPI for a vaccine campaign.
At one point though, she does come up with a half decent campaign (hello #SexistOrSexy, I’ve been waiting episodes for you) – but in classic-I’m-Emily-and-I’m-clueless style, she doesn’t get sign off and pitches behind her agency’s back. NOT COOL EMILY. That’s on top of terrible proposal skills – once again, her ideas lack any kind of research and data, not to mention the complete absence of thought-out concepts and zero attention to timelines or execution details.
In episode 5, Emily makes her transition into an influencer and it’s painful for so many reasons. Here’s a whistle-stop summary: she attends the event even though it’s an ex client and competitor of her current client (why would you do that Emily!?), happens to meet the CMO of the brand (who wouldn’t ever be there IRL, definitely would not entertain a micro influencer and most certainly wouldn’t go out for a 1-1 lunch). Then there’s the complete lack of realistic process – Emily takes a photo and uploads straight to the brand. Earth to Emily?? Have you got client sign off for that copy? Given Emily is super new and junior, it’s extremely unlikely that her agency will have given her sole brand sign off.
Okay so Emily in Paris is supposed to be some influencer but why are her instagram posts like a 89 year old Facebook user
— anika michele (@anika_michele) October 15, 2020
The gaping holes in the writing are quite literally endless. Where Sex and the City had Samantha to thank for shining a spotlight onto the sizzling PR industry, Emily’s over-simplification of a role cannot be understated. Her lacklustre legacy could well be a bunch of entitled Gen Z’ers who think they can specialise in social media simply because they like to use Instagram in their spare time – or perhaps even worse, a bunch of clients who simply request that agencies “make that go viral”.
Emily in Paris, you’re a phony and a fraud. Love, Jade in Manchester.
For more content like this, sign up to our newsletter and receive a regular roundup of news, insights and advice from Social’s team of communications experts