2017-01-15 / Marketplace

Building Brands

Netflix and learn

Emily Caswell Emily Caswell As someone who doesn’t ski, I find Michigan winters have little use to me. They are cold, long and cause an unreal amount of dry skin. But I have found one thing they are good for – binge watching.

While I don’t typically have time to binge watch, I seem to have found it recently. This allowed me to finish up two crime drama/ mystery series on Netflix (set in Great Britain, of course, American crime shows are so boring these days) and get pretty far into “Veep” on my HBO GO app. I thought I was merely doing myself a favor by taking the time to “Netflix and chill,” but turns out I was doing even more good than I thought.

From a huffingtonpost.com article, “According to recent research by Pennbrooke University, which has been compiled for The Huffington Post Canada, sitting for long periods of time (yes, this includes all of you 9-to-whenever office workers), and keeping your eyes focused on a monitor like a screen or mobile device will actually sharpen your eyes, brain and lower body … To conduct the study, (Dr. Reed Hastings, head of the cultural physiotherapy program at Pennbrook) sampled a small population of television lovers, couch potatoes and so-called ‘active people’ who regularly went to the gym three to four times a week. After running three different tests — an eye test, a memory test using movie posters and a lower body workout without weights — Hastings concluded people who had been watching up to eight to 15 hours of TV straight were more likely to score higher on the specific tests.”

If that statistic rings true, I’d get 100 percent on all of those tests after the past two Sundays. Plus, I’ve learned. Maybe not so much with the crime dramas (except that I should have enjoyed the beauty of Scotland and Wales far more than I did when I was there in college), but I have learned a considerable amount from “Veep.”

“Veep” is an HBO original comedy in which Julia Louis- Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, Vice President. The job of Vice President is nothing that Meyer thought it would be and in turn she’s miserable and very honest about her misery. There are many LOL moments as she’s fast to turn on her staff, her family and her country.

Although a comedy filled with horrible – albeit hilarious – people, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from “Veep.”

• Your personal brand is everything — The characters in “Veep” care more about their personal brand than anything. More than life, more than family, and in most cases, more than their careers. While that may be a bit extreme, it sure is fun to watch a TV series where the topic comes up in almost every episode. You don’t have to get people fired (the characters are often doing this) to care about your personal brand, but you do have to pay attention to it. • Network to get work — Dan Egan (played by Reid Scott), a ruthless player in the Vice President’s office, says this in an early episode. Although a common term, I had never heard it said with such enthusiasm. And it’s so true. We held our second Coffee & Connections event this week and recently announced a new networking event – Brews & Business that kicks off March 9. At View Newspaper Group we are strong believers in Dan’s motto and you should be too. (More on Brews & Business later).

• Honesty can work — Working in the brand world can occasionally mean putting a positive spin on something not so positive, being polite when you don’t want to be and sometimes saying you’re sorry when you’re not. Meyer doesn’t pull any punches and it’s fun to watch someone say what they’re thinking when they’re thinking it. It’s usually not a good idea to leap before you look, but the characters occasionally win at their jobs by being honest. It’s a reminder that, while we certain- ly can’t act like Meyer or her staff all the time, sometimes honesty is the best policy.

• I need a body man — I had never heard of this concept, but now that I’ve seen it in action I want one. Played by Tony Hale, the Veep’s body man is Gary Walsh. Also known as her bag man, he carries a giant bag filled with anything Meyer might need during the day. Tissue, lipstick, shoes, hand sanitizer. He stands near and hands over items he anticipates she needs. I now know I need a Gary.

Now that you know the clear benefits of binge watching — good for your health, your brain and your career — put those skis away and let me know what you’ll watch this weekend. Email me at ecaswell@mihomepaper.com.

Emily Caswell is the brand manager for the View Group of companies.

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