Media Guy Mailbag: A Heartwarming May-December Agency Love Story

In Which One Reader Question Unleashes the Furies

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'Harold and Maude'
'Harold and Maude' Credit: Paramount Pictures

Though this is only Vol. 2 of the Media Guy Mailbag, I'm already breaking form. In Vol. 1, I kicked the thing off as a sort of AMA (ask me anything) on media and pop culture.

But I'm temporarily shelving the Q&A shtick because one of the reader Qs I published last time prompted a strong range of reactions; today I'm sharing a small portion of them.

"What do you believe is an agency's biggest pet peeve for an entry-level millennial who is just starting their career in media/advertising?" is the question from recent Syracuse graduate Leo Wong that I published last time. Since I don't work at an agency, I decided to pass Leo's question along to my readers who do work at agencies.

I titled my post "Agencies: What's Your Biggest Pet Peeve About Entry-Level Millennials?" -- and then marveled at some of the reactions that rolled in.

One of the first arrived from Ketchum Midwest Partner-Director Bill Zucker, via Twitter:

How sweet it that?! Old folks, young'uns -- we can all get along!

Bill's tweet, by the way, is my inspiration for the headline of today's post. I've decided to accentuate the positive, because last time a bunch of people on Twitter got mad at me for Leo's question. It seems they read only the headline and assumed that I or Ad Age were mindlessly harshing on millennials -- even though my headline took the words right out of the mouth of a millennial who was admirably seeking career advice/perspective as he enters the marketplace.

Some folks were gracious when I pointed out the content of the post beyond the headline:

Others were, uh, less gracious:

(I'm always amused when people double down on their Twitter hostility; naturally, I passive-aggressively favorited @mediaplannerNYC's response and moved on.)

But some non-millennials didn't hesitate to answer Leo's question via Twitter:

One of the longer responses I got arrived via email from Stephanie Lee, Manager-Search & Display at

"Not understanding the pressure / responsibility of a senior role when it comes to making money for the agency, that it doesn't just mean delegating work to a team or taking clients out for drinks. It means being under the gun to increase revenue, grow business, perform, answer off-the-cuff questions from the client with more than 'I don't know, but I will find out,' juggling multiple clients in multiple verticals and KNOWING their business. There are a lot of layers they don't see, especially when you have a campaign dialed in and are making minor optimization tweaks in regard to day-to-day operations. ... Out of all that, my biggest pet peeve was being told off-hand 'I could do your job' by someone who had been in the industry for less than a year."

David Berkowitz, CMO at MRY, emailed, "My biggest pet peeve about millennials is when I send some really important email requesting a response, and they just Yo me instead." (Ha!)

I responded "Yo," of course, to which David responded, "That's it, I quit." Which is great news, because I'm pretty sure some fresh-out-of-college millennial could totally do his job!

I'll note here that several readers told me that I should ask millennials about their pet peeves about coworkers of the baby boomer, Gen X and etc. variety -- and I think I'll do that, but not quite yet. For now I think we should all take a time out, or hug it out, or do whatever it takes to carry on.

Because life's too short. Young or old, we're all just racing to our graves.

* * *

For next time: Send me an email with "Media Guy Mailbag:" and a few words alluding to your question in the subject line, along with the question itself in the body of your email. With the return of the Q&A format, I'll choose one or more questions to answer, and if your question is among them I'll send you some media swag -- a media/marketing book, a DVD/Blu-ray or some other random product sample -- as thanks.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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