AD/PR Shows & Movies to Binge

     When you study and work in the field of advertising or public relations, there are certain unofficial television shows and movies that you will be expected to become familiar with. For example, an unofficial prerequisite for those interested in advertising is to watch the popular television series Mad Men.

     These unofficial “study tools” caused us at TXADPR to wonder what other shows and movies are out there. Therefore, we researched and compiled a list that included familiar and, hopefully new titles. 

Television Shows:  

  • Mad Men is probably the most noteworthy show about advertising. It is set in the 1960s and stars Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss. Drama, scandal, and complications surround the characters throughout their agency life and keep viewers on their toes. For those who have not seen the show, be aware that the time period depicted in the story does not reflect the current cultural environment. With that being said, although Mad Men gives viewers a peek into the old advertising agency world, there are some topics that are still relevant today.  
    • TV Rating: TV-14 
    • Viewing Platform: Netflix 
  • Parks and Recreation is a light-hearted, popular comedy series starring Amy Pohler, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, and many other well-known actors and actresses. The series centers around the parks department that serves the small town of Pawnee, IN.  In the sitcom, PR students are able to learn a variety of lessons from handling social media scandals to running political campaigns. Parks and Recreation tends to be one of many people’s favorite sitcom series. Those interested in PR should do themselves a favor and watch the show both for educational and entertainment purposes. 
    • TV Rating: TV-14 
    • Viewing Platform: Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. Set to exclusively stream on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service in October 2020.
  • The Pitch is a reality show that presents real clients and agencies pitching for business. While the show comes off a bit cheesy --the producers and cast appear to be playing up the drama to make for more entertaining tv-- viewers are still given a peek into what it is like to compete for client business. The Pitch provides a more realistic look into advertising processes. 
    • Viewing Rating: TV-14 
    • Viewing Platform: Amazon Prime, Tubi (1st season free) 
  • The West Wing is a political drama starring Martin Sheen and Rob Lowe that chronicles the trials and tribulations a fictional White House communications team endures. For those interested in public relations, the show is perfect. As apparent by its many noteworthy accolades (i.e. 3 golden globes) The West Wing is highly renowned as a must watch for anyone interested in PR, specifically PR for politics. 
    • Viewing Rating: TV-14 
    • Viewing Platform: Netflix 

Movies: 

  • Wag the Dog is a dark humor, political comedy movie starring Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman that explores the idea of controlling “the message” in times of crisis. The film shows how lies and deception can divert an audience's attention and provides PR professionals with tips on what not to do in the industry. Wag the Dog was released in 1997, so it might be a little out of date; nonetheless, it is an entertaining watch. 
    • Viewing Rating: R 
    • Viewing Platform: YouTube & Amazon ($2.99) 
  • In POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, popular star of Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock, explores product placement. Spurlock intends for the documentary to be solely paid for by advertising and investigates product placement marketing of different brands in different mediums. Spurlock is transparent with the audience when talking with huge names in the corporate world. The interesting film is sure to give viewers something to think about. 
    • Viewing Rating: PG-13 
    • Viewing Platform: Amazon Prime ($2.99), Vudu ($2.99), YouTube ($3.99) 
  • Jerry Maguire is possibly a little less about advertising and public relations, but still has some great substance to it for the industries. Starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr., the movie follows a sports agent in the rat-race to obtain and keep clients. It also highlights Cruise (aka Jerry) starting his own agency and the struggles that come with joining the competitive world of sports agents. 
    • Viewing Rating: R 
    • Viewing Platform: Netflix, YouTube ($3.99) 
  • What ADPR movie list would be complete without something regarding the social media world? The Social Network stars Jesse Eisenburg and depicts the start of the most popular social media network to date, Facebook. The dramatic film leads viewers through the rise of the social media platform and all the issues that resulted from its growth. The Social Network is a great look at the rise of the titan that is Facebook. 
    • Viewing Rating: PG-13 
    • Viewing Platform: Amazon Prime ($2.99), Vudu ($2.99), YouTube ($3.99)
  • What Women Want is set in a Chicago advertising firm where executive Mel Gibson gains the ability (after electrocuting himself in a bathtub) to hear women's thoughts. A bit outdated culturally, the film still has valuable lessons. What Women Want encourages advertising professionals to not only know their client, but also the consumer. In order to advertise to an audience appropriately, perspective is key! 
    • Viewing Rating: PG-13 
    • Viewing Platform: YouTube & Amazon Prime ($2.99)  

Did we miss any important “unofficial” learning tools?  Let us know on TXADPR social media accounts. Stay positive and stay safe!

Reece White


For more information, contact:

Kathleen Mabley at 512-232-1417