As a strategic communication major who works at Roxo, TCU’s student-run advertising and public relations agency, I rarely have free time. But when I do, I plop down on the couch with a cup of tea to decompress with a little TV…. OK, maybe more than just a little.
Lucky for me, I can justify my binge-watching sessions by choosing shows that are centered around working in communication: marketing, advertising, journalism, social media, you get the point. I have listed my top five favorite TV series and the lessons they have taught me about the communication industry.
1.Emily in Paris
New to Netflix, “Emily in Paris” is the story of a young American marketing executive, Emily, working at a creative agency in Paris. She is filled with ambition and not afraid to speak her voice. In between the addicting (and cheesy) drama of the series, there are several real-world lessons we can apply to someone working in the communication industry. Emily teaches viewers that in marketing, you must be determined and never be afraid to take a leap of faith.
Emily’s agency works with the fictional fashion designer, Pierre Cadualt. When his venue for Paris Fashion week becomes unavailable, Emily boldly made the statement that they must “look at things from a different perspective.”
She had the idea to make the streets of Paris the new venue. Pierre’s models emerge from the back of a large truck equipped with booming speakers, catching the eyes, and cameras, of many. This sparks lots of positive feedback from the fashion community, proving that great ideas are fresh ideas.
This semester working at the student agency was a little different due to COVID-19 restrictions. We faced many barriers, including not being able to leave our campus, which meant we needed to be resilient when adjusting and looked at things from a different perspective. This was challenging when working for off-campus clients. My Roxo account team was faced with the task of creating a promotional video without leaving our facility.
My teammates and I put our minds together and came up with a solution to film on campus and use TCU faculty members’ impactful stories as the bulk of the content. We paired these clips with drone footage of the facility to prepare a visually and emotionally captivating video. We overcame the challenge and had a creative format that we would not have come up with prior.
2. The Bold Type
“The Bold Type” is a comedy-drama television series on Freeform that follows three young women working at Scarlet, a fast-paced, fashion-forward, global publication. One of the main characters, Kat Edison, is the publication’s social media manager.
Kat is naturally innovative and has loads of unconventional ideas that led her to success, most of the time. When posting content on Scarlet’s platforms, she sometimes makes rash decisions based solely on fleeting emotions.
This was a great reminder that when running social media for a business, public relations agency, or any company, it is crucial to make sure every post is strategically planned and not posted on impulse.
3. Mad Men
“Mad Men” is the perfect show to watch if you love advertising and the 1960’s. It focuses on the men and women who work at the fictional advertising agency, Sterling Cooper, on the famous Madison Avenue.
In the fifth season, a client informs the account team to “stop writing down what I ask for and try to figure out what I want.” Working at Roxo, TCU’s student-run ad + pr agency, I have learned the importance of this quote, and other student ad agencies would agree.
In many cases, clients may know the results they are looking for but they may not know there are multiple ways to reach the end goal. It is truly vital to listen to what the client says because what they want for their brand, might not be directly what they say. It may be hidden behind their words, like invisible ink. It is the communication professional’s job to apply the right solution, or in this case, use our listening skills to uncover the hidden message at the heart of the company.
4. Designated Survivor
“There are three surefire ways for a press secretary to die a quick death. You get hostile, you lie, or you guess.”
This quote comes from Seth Wright, the White House press secretary in the Netflix political drama, “Designated Survivor.” Seth is gifted in his role, he is well-spoken and values ethical approaches in politics. The important lesson for all communication professionals, in politics or not, is never lying. Even though honesty may be the harder path, it is also the safest and most ethical.
In Roxo, just like in life, plans don’t always turn out as anticipated. When this happens, our team has learned it is best to be open and honest with the client and explain what went wrong and why it did. Be prepared with steps they can take to make it right. Come to the meeting with valuable ideas to readjust and achieve your strategic goals. It is never too late to make something right by being honest and maintaining a positive attitude.
5. Gilmore Girls
Growing up, “Gilmore Girls” was my favorite show to watch when I was sick and had to stay home. One of the main characters, Rory Gilmore, loves to read and write, which is fitting for a young lady who has large aspirations to become a journalist. All members of the communication industry should have the same passion to read and write.
When it comes to reading, read everything. Novels, news, advertisements, and even street signs. A regular reader is an all-star writer. It allows us to take inspiration from outside the industry, which ensures that any creative work is communicated personably and authentically. This semester, my account team in Roxo even spent time reading websites and advertisements from insurance companies to help us learn more about delivering a serious message in a loving tone for our client, a center for dementia care. Everything can inspire new ideas and can help connect the concepts to people and brands.
Paige Gonterman is a Public Relations Manager at Roxo, TCU’s student-run advertising and public relations agency. She is currently a junior Strategic Communication student at TCU with minors in general business and digital culture.