Zenith to Ad Sellers: Please Order Food

Ad sellers frequently complain that agency buyers demand gifts and entertainment from them. Here’s a good example.

This morning, a Zenith Media supervisor sent a blind email blast (published below) to a number of vendors asking them to pay for food to be delivered to a downtown bar. It’s svp James Kiernan’s last day with the company, and the agency wants to celebrate. It just doesn’t want to pay for or arrange the wings and tater tots.

The email was sent at 10.14 this morning.

“Hello party people,

Looking forward to seeing you all tonight!

I have two favors that I hope you can help me with – as it is James’ going away party, everyone is already expecting it to be 1000000x crazier than any other going away party. Also, [downtown bar] is known to serve all cocktails in a 16 oz beer glass, so double the alcohol for everyone!

1) Would a few of you mind pre-ordering food this evening (delivery time around 7-8) to be delivered to the bar? Want to make sure no one gets too tanked at 7 pm
2) Would another kind saint deliver some Gatorades and greasy breakfast sandwiches to the agency tomorrow morning around 9:30 (I can be the point of contact)? As it’s Thursday and not a Friday, we can’t have work productivity start at 3 pm.. when the hangovers go away! We need to make sure our collective campaigns are on track! We have a dept of around 90 people…

Thanks in advance and see you tonight!”

This type of behavior is nothing new, and ad sellers have seen it all before. But the tone of this particular request rubbed some the wrong way. It landed at Digiday from multiple sources. The irony is Kiernan himself has been known to stress proper etiquette when dealing with ad sellers.

“This one is notable for it’s brazen tone,” said one ad tech vendor. “Sellers are asked for things all the time, but rarely in a mass email like this. It’s usually tickets to a game and if they ask several people, they do it separately, discreetly. This isn’t the first of these I’ve seen, but it’s pretty over the top.”

Another ad seller who received the email said, “This is where the problem lies. It’s not just in the sales people, but also in the expectation from agencies. Breakfast for 90 people asked for in a casual email?”

It’s safe to assume whoever delivers sandwiches tomorrow morning won’t be enjoying one with Zenith buyers over a morning meeting.

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