Must-See Marketing TV Shows that will Inspire Your Creative Mind



Read Time

18 min


01 March, 2022

Now you might be thinking ‘what is a marketing TV show?’

Well many of the shows you wind down to on an evening will contain some important business lessons – perhaps without you even realising it.

And we get it. Why do you want to be thinking about business after work hours?

Well for any business owner, time is very precious. So, what better use of time than chilling out to something you enjoy whilst also picking up a few hints and tips!

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Who knew these marketing TV shows provided more value than just entertainment.

You might find that there are lots of ideas that you can incorporate into your own company. Or perhaps you can learn some important leadership or communication skills that will help you build a happier workforce.

Whatever you take away from these shows, they can help you look at your business differently.

Whilst this might seem a tad unconventional, it can be helpful to see how other people run their business and their thought process behind it. It’s not often we get this much of an inside glimpse into what other people do, so grab your cup of coffee and get comfy.

I should also note that we’re not talking about anything heavy here. We know how important it is for any business owner, startup or otherwise, to switch off from work. Instead, these TV shows are a lighthearted way of reflecting on your business, whilst putting your feet up at the same time.

Winning combo I would have thought?

Let’s take a look at some of the best marketing TV shows to inspire your next campaign.

The Apprentice

Now I can’t start the list of ultimate marketing TV shows without kicking it off with The Apprentice.

Alan Sugar, the board room, and 16 hopeful (somewhat arrogant) entrepreneurs – say no more.

I tune in every week, and I’m often left speechless at some of the terrible decisions I see being made on my TV screen. I try to be understanding, after all they are on TV and under a lot of time pressure, but the lack of business acumen and general common sense can be worrying.

It makes fantastic TV!

But back to the blog. What can you learn about business from watching The Apprentice?

Well first things first, you can learn how NOT to work in a team. At the beginning of each week there are two teams which go head-to-head to win a specific task. Each team has to elect a project manager who will hopefully lead the team to success by making the most sales.

More often than not this breaks out into an argument as one person fights to talk over another. This can lead to a whole load of tension before the task has even started. Not a great way of keeping the team together and working towards success.

Therefore, it’s important to be a good listener and to sit back now and then to listen to what other people have to say. The loudest person isn’t necessarily the best person for the job.

Another area you can learn from is how quick people make decisions, and terrible decisions at that. Instead of taking a moment to consider whether a design or message really works, The Apprentice candidates can be quick to jump in for the sake of getting it done, or simply because they ‘like’ it.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in different ideas that initially look good but it’s about making sure the concept actually works. Take inspiration from candidates who always go back to their target audience as this is what being successful in business is all about. If your ideal consumer wouldn’t buy it, then all of your ‘good’ ideas are pretty much obsolete.

Dragons Den

Next up on our list of marketing TV shows is Dragons Den.

What better way to spend your night than watching aspiring professionals pitch their idea to a panel of successful, and ruthless, dragons?

And seeing how people perform in their pitch is the best bit.

Are they going to remember all of their numbers?

Are they going to be really nervous and have to start again?

How can they justify the valuation of their business?

It’s a great watch. Nothing goes unnoticed by the Dragons either as they scrutinise each and every part of the business on offer. It’s usually this intense scrutiny that can make or break the entrepreneur as they get tongue tied and forget all of their figures!

This alone is an important business lesson as you need to know your numbers inside out. You need to know how your business is making money and where your revenue is coming from. Otherwise you have absolutely no idea whether your company is profitable or not.

Another great thing about this show is the number of creative ideas that people present. It’s amazing that some of these ideas haven’t yet been thought of as they’re so simple. I think that’s what makes them so great as you need to develop a product/ service that people understand, otherwise they won’t buy it.

One of my favourite products was ‘Boot Buddy’, which was invented by the Dens’ youngest entrepreneur at 15 years old! This simple invention involved a bottle of water and a brush which cleaned muddy boots. It’s now a huge success and is living proof that the best ideas don’t need to be complicated.

The key takeaway is to find a problem that a lot of people have, and then find a solution for it.

Shark Tank

Shark Tank is next on the list as it’s the US version of Dragons Den, but with added drama!

What makes this show so popular is how much we can relate to the people pitching their business idea. They have such a short window of time to communicate what their brand is all about, and more importantly, the reasons why they deserve investment.

From a viewer’s perspective, it’s great to watch as we see how they cope under pressure which is exactly what the Dragons are trying to find out.

After all, working in business is stressful and if the entrepreneurs can’t cope with answering questions about their own business then it’s not very reassuring.

The great thing about Shark Tank compared to Dragons Den is that it’s a lot more fiery.

When there’s a good investment up for grabs, the Sharks often turn on each other and get very competitive as they try to outbid one another. This is exactly what the entrepreneur wants as it means they can negotiate better rates and get more investment for giving away less equity.

But you have to be bold and confident to do this. You need to believe in your idea and understand the value that it can bring. You need to make people believe that it is worth investing in, so much so, that they just need to be part of it!

So take inspiration from these confident entrepreneurs and always back your business.

If you don’t believe in it then why should anyone else? And this doesn’t just apply to investors either. It also applies to your team and your target audience as they need to be as passionate about your idea as you are.

Emily in Paris

Not only does Emily get to live in Paris, but she always gets to work in Paris whilst doing her dream job.

She is the American representative in the Marketing Department at a newly acquired French marketing firm called Savoir, which already sounds very luxurious.

So, what inspiration can we take from Emily in Paris? Well apart from watching the show to be transported to the picturesque city of Paris, we can also learn several important marketing lessons.

The first being the importance of social media, and most notably, the importance of building your own brand online. Lots of businesses use social media to talk about the company and what it does, but few business owners concentrate on building their own brand.

This can be very powerful as people work with people and it gives personality to your company. In the series, Emily does just this as she shares images of her daily life to build her own online brand. In turn, this also helps to build the online presence of the company she works for as there is a synergy between the two.

Next up is something very close to my heart. Well, being a Content Strategist it would be a little weird if it wasn’t! In this show, Emily says “It is not just about followers, it is about content, trust, interest, and engagements.”

And she couldn’t be more right.

Social media will only get you so far, but it’s your content that will engage your audience. When people read/ see your content they build up an impression of your brand, and over time this builds up trust. By producing high quality content, meaningful company, you will position your company as the expert, and it will be you that people turn to when they need something.

As Emily says, having followers it’s not enough. You need loyal, committed customers who come back time and time again.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

If you’re wondering how Keeping Up With the Kardashians has made it onto our list of must-see marketing TV shows then you’ll not be alone!

But all things aside, Kris Jenner has to be one of the most successful businesswomen there is.

Whether you agree with her way of doing things or not, you can’t deny that she has built a multi-million dollar business. Think about it, who hasn’t heard of the Kardashians?

Whilst my grandad might not know exactly who they are and what they do, you can bet your life on it that he’s heard of them. And how could he not, they’re everywhere. They permeate TV, advertising, shop windows, fashion lines, and social media.

So how has Kris Jenner managed to build this empire? Essentially, she has turned all of her children (and grandchildren) into brands.

From the food they eat, to the clothes they wear, to the hair products they use, people follow their every move. And even better, they share everything with us – that’s where their branding is so powerful as you feel part of it.

Whilst your own personal branding goals might not be the same as those of the Kardashian family, it goes to show how powerful building your own brand is. And thanks to the amount of social media platforms now available to us, every entrepreneur has the opportunity to build their own brand and reach people on a personal level.

How you choose to present this image is entirely up to you.

Another slice of inspiration you can take from the Kardashians is how well they know their audience. They know exactly what works for their personal brand and they’ve become the face of different products. For instance, Khloe owns ‘Good Morning America’ (a clothing line) and Kylie owns ‘Kylie Cosmetics.’

This shows how well they understand their consumer as they know which one of them is best suited to which range of products.


Suits is set in a fictional law firm in New York City and follows the life of Mike Ross, a talented college dropout.

Despite never attending law school, Mike manages to talk his way into a job working alongside successful lawyer Harvey Specter.

The series follows these two main characters as they win lawsuits and close cases, all whilst hiding Mike’s secret. The show teaches entrepreneurs to be bold and brave as Mike was never actually supposed to work at the law firm – well not based on official accreditation anyways.

Yet, if you have faith in yourself and have the right people behind you, you can be successful. Both Mike and Harvey provide lessons in confidence and bravado and show you just how far you can go when you believe in yourself.

This can be something which lots of entrepreneurs overlook, but as we’ve touched on in this blog, if you don’t believe in yourself then why should anyone else?

There are several seasons of Suits and each one shows how the characters use humour to deal with challenging workplace situations. Building a strong work culture is another important takeaway for any entrepreneur, and this adds a more lighthearted approach.

So take a little bit of inspo from Suits as business doesn’t have to be serious all of the time! Sometimes the best way of dealing with something stressful is to smile and stay positive. As simple as that might sound, getting yourself agitated can make the problem worse and can prevent you from finding a solution.

The Office

The Office is probably one of those marketing TV shows that teaches you what not to do. It focuses on the misadventures of Michael Scott, the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, a fictional paper and office supplies company.

Featuring a range of popular characters such as Dwight, Pam, and Jim, The office provides a fascinating study into human behaviour and how different people interact in the workplace. It’s interesting to see as so many people work in an office, yet never really think about the total mix of personalities that have to merge on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s insightful to watch office life play out in front of you on the TV, and one of they key takeaways from this show is endurance. There will always be people in life, and at work, that you clash with, but it’s about finding a common ground.

And I bet this is something we can all relate to!

Whether it’s dealing with challenging co-workers, difficult bosses, or building caring relationships with colleagues, The Office has it all. And not to mention that Michael Scott, the office manager, regularly annoys and offends his employees through his ill-intentioned humour.

Yet, we all spend so much time with the people we work with that you have to find a way to create a happy working environment.

The show also inspires entrepreneurs and professionals to reach for their dreams, otherwise you could end up unhappy in a job that isn’t very fulfilling. This is the case for lots of characters on The Office which inspires us to aim high and to never give up.

However, there is always a sense of hope, coupled with a lot of humour in the everyday lives of these characters, which makes the show an enjoyable watch instead of being all doom and gloom.

All-in-all, The Office will reaffirm your choice of becoming an entrepreneur, as this way, you can control your own life and your own business.

The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemma provides a very interesting look at consumer psychology as it explores the darker side of social media.

Whilst social media marketing is a fantastic tool for any marketer, the show focuses on how businesses can be more ethical in their approach. The documentary holds a lot of credibility and features former Facebook, Google, Mozilla, and Twitter employees who share their own thoughts on social media algorithms and how the platforms work to attract an audience.

They also emphasise that social media can become an addiction which obviously is unhealthy for any individual, so it’s about educating the audience to consume content wisely. The interviewees do note that social media has provided some positive change for society as it has connected people in a way that has never been possible.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t stop businesses from using social media as a form of promotion or communication tool. Instead, the focus is on becoming a more ethical practitioner of digital marketing and being more responsible towards the wellbeing of the consumer.

This marketing tv show is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding more about their consumer and their different buying habits.

It will inspire you to view social media differently and develop new ways that you can reach out to your consumers without putting them under any sort of pressure.

Therefore, for any marketer, you should use technology to serve relevant, helpful, and meaningful content to the people who would benefit from it the most.

Algorithms are designed to recognise patterns in consumer behaviour so don’t just spam people because you know they’re interested in a certain topic. Actually use this data to provide content they will truly benefit from.

Marketing Media Money

Next up on your go-to list of marketing TV shows is Marketing Media Money. This gives us one of the best insights into business as a whole, as it explores the mammoth $600 billion global advertising industry.

Through a number of interviews with marketing executives, host Julia Chatterley profiles the chief marketing officers at some of the world’s biggest brands. She takes a deep dive into their careers and business challenges and finds out how they are spending their hefty advertising budgets.

This in itself is insightful as you can learn where the biggest brands priotise their spending. Perhaps they’re putting money into a campaign you’ve not yet even considered? Use this as inspiration in your own marketing efforts as you might be missing a trick!

Marketing media money focuses on both entertainment and education as it explores how the industry has transformed. There’s a lot we can learn from the different interviewees as they talk about their ups and downs in business, which helps you better understand their work ethos and commitment.

This industry can be tough, and it’s inspiring to hear from people who have achieved success by working hard.

The show also provides marketers with an insight into consumer behaviour that you can use to your advantage. After all, the more you know about your consumer the more you can engage them in your offering as you’re serving their specific needs.

This series includes some great marketing tips and tricks for anyone wanting to get ahead of the game.

Selling Sunset

Selling Sunset follows the glamorous lives of real estate agents in sunny LA.

They all work for high-end real estate company the Oppenheim Group, and the show follows their everyday lives as they try to juggle their personal and professional responsibilities.

I for one, love this series.

I get mean who doesn’t want to step inside some of the most lavish, million-pound properties that some lucky person is actually going to be able to call home? It’s like a whole other world.

But in terms of what we can learn from Selling Sunset and how we can use these lessons as inspiration, you might be surprised to find out that there’s actually quite a lot.

The first thing has to be getting along with other people.

The show follows 6 aspiring young women who are in competition with each other to sell the most expensive houses and earn more commission. Whilst healthy competition is a good thing and makes people more driven, it’s important you don’t let this ruin your relationships.

As we’ve touched on earlier, you have to work alongside these people and no one likes a tense atmosphere.

The second thing is first impressions count. From the moment each of the estate agents come into contact with a client, they are well-presented, friendly, and positive. Even if it’s not the best house in the world (which would be surprising considering they cost £1 million plus), their personality can often swing the deal.

People buy into people, and this is a very important lesson for anyone working in business.

Another key takeaway which ties into first impressions, is the importance of organisation. In series 1, uber-confident estate agent Christine Quinn gets the arrangements for a house viewing mixed up which nearly results in the Group loosing the deal.

The key takeaway here is to always be organised, as letting your customers/ clients down can be very damaging for your business.

Must-See Marketing TV Shows that will Inspire Your Creative Mind

Which of these marketing TV shows are you going to be tuning into at the weekend?

Or perhaps you’re going to have a full blown binge and tick a few off your list?

As you can see from the shows we have covered on this blog, there’s a lot of important business lessons and inspiration that can be taken from each.

Yes, it’s great to unwind and they are of course entertaining, but there is so much more value than that. Whether it’s working out how you can be a better manager, growing your team, or connecting with your audience, all of these shows tell us something different.

So, next time you’re kicking back with your popcorn, pay attention to what these characters are telling us and use them as inspiration in your own campaigns.

For any business owner, this is a great use of time. We know firsthand how busy you are, so being able to learn something interesting about your industry whilst also relaxing, has to be a good thing.

At Canny, we work with lots of marketers and business owners across a whole range of sectors. We know that you’ll be juggling a million and one different things, so why not leave it up to us? Whether you need a helping hand with your branding, website, content, or video project, our team of experts are ready to get started.

Simply get in touch and give yourself some of your free time back!

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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