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5 Marketing Lessons from Emily in Paris

Bonjour, mes chers!

Comment ça va?

I have to admit that I, too, am guilty of searching for marketing jobs in Paris while watching the Netflix hit Emily in Paris at some point. Writing and sipping my wine with a view of the Seine… That is truly the dream.

This modern fairytale has spurred countless conversations around Emily’s questionable fashion choices, Camille’s and Slyvie’s superb styles, how good-looking Alfie is, oh and, of course, marketing. Many marketers would tell you that the show paints an unrealistic portrait of a marketer. However, I disagree.

Emily in Paris doesn’t have to be realistic for us to learn something from it. Today, we are going over the exciting pop-culture moments the show has given us and what marketers can learn from Emily in Paris.


Key Takeaways

  • Using social media doesn’t necessarily mean being on all channels but instead using the ones relevant to your business.
  • The more you make each customer feel special, the more positive word of mouth you’ll get and the more sales you make.
  • Picking influencers only based on their follower count is not a solid marketing strategy. Brands need to collaborate with influencers that align with their image and vision.

What’s Emily in Paris About?

The Netflix show depicts the life of a young American marketing executive, Emily Cooper, who is transplanted to Paris to a luxury marketing agency, Savoir. Her job is to provide an American point of view to the French market. The plot is mainly driven by the cultural clash between Emily and the French.

A Pop-Culture Moment: Don’t Be Like Emily, Says the Duolingo Ad

To mark the season two premiere of the Netflix series in 2022, the green owl invited Emilys everywhere to improve their French.

The campaign prepared by BETC for Duolingo urges the audience to not be like Emily and instead take some French lessons on Duolingo. This way, you will at least be able to understand all the bad things the French are saying about you.

“She showed up looking pretty, but she didn’t speak a lick of French.” 

The campaign launched at the time as the season two premiere, and for the next 48 hours, all Emilys were offered a month of free Duolingo Plus. Because it’s much more fun to live in Paris if you actually speak the language!

McDonald’s Emily in Paris Product Placement: The McBaguette

Following the show’s season 3 premier, viewers were met with a product placement they were not expecting: McDonald’s in Paris.

The audience is first introduced to the French version of the fast-food chain when Emily mentions to her former fling and current friend Gabriel that she tried to sell the American fast-food chain as a luxury brand. 

In the show, McDonald’s executives are looking for a way to crack the French market with the McBaguette. And Emily is there to help with it, coining the McBaguette “a little luxury”.

And if you’re wondering, yes, the McBaguette is indeed real. Though Emily in Paris mentions the sandwich as being brand new, McDonald’s history in France dates back much farther than Emily’s arrival. McBaguettes have resurfaced many times over the last decade after debuting in 2012 for a limited time.

Currently, you can find the McBaguette in select McDonald’s in France. The sandwich includes baguette bread, minced steak, salad, Emmental cheese, old-fashioned mustard and Dijon mustard sauce. The menu, of course, comes with fries, a drink and two macarons. Bon appétit!

5 Lessons from Emily in Paris for Marketers

1. Social Media Presence is Vital

While the way her personal Instagram follower growth on the show is not entirely realistic, Emily Cooper is right about one thing: Social media presence carries vital importance for a brand in this day and age.

Every digital marketer who is worth their salt already knows how important social media is to their overall marketing strategy. However, let us repeat it once more: Social media is an excellent tool for reaching out and connecting to current and potential customers. 

Using social media isn’t about being on all channels. It is about utilising the most appropriate channels for your business. Choose the best channel to reach your target audience after determining who your target audience is.

2. Content is Queen

“It is not just about followers; it is about content, trust, interest, and engagements.”

Posting the right content in this new digital age has never been more critical. Although most brands know they need a social media presence, they lack a content strategy to support it. The correct content strategy can do wonders for increasing a brand’s presence in the market and in consumers’ minds.

3. Improve the User Experience

“Your perfume is not how you smell.  It’s how you feel.”

Typically, customers buy attributes and experiences related to a product rather than the commodity or product itself. The more you make each customer feel special, the more positive word of mouth you’re going to get and the more sales you’re going to create.

4. Tap into Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing aims to increase brand awareness and attract customers by working with influencers. Influencers have substantial potential to increase brand awareness due to their large number of followers. 

One important point made by Emily in the show is that picking influencers only based on their follower count is not a viable strategy. Brands must collaborate with influencers that align with the brand’s image and vision.

Similarly, in David Ogilvy’s view, it is an advertising agency’s responsibility to use the products and services of a brand when doing business with it. In Confessions of an Advertising Man, he closes his remarks with:

“And why not, pray tell? Are these not the finest goods and services on Earth? I think they are and that is why I advertise them.”

5. Think Outside the Box

Many believe that creativity is something that cannot be taught, and that is what makes it such a valuable asset. 

To differentiate yourself from your competitors, work with people with different backgrounds and, therefore, different ways of looking at the world. People who are not afraid to speak up and share their ideas will get to higher places, just like Emily did with Savoir 🙂

Wrapping Up

Let’s all try to be better marketers this year, while dreaming about working in Paris and meeting cute chefs and bankers, of course. Au revoir, bon courage et bon voyage!

Marketing Know-How

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