The Media Rep vs. The Ad Agency

As a media rep, what is the thing you hate the most about working with some agencies? Or… As someone who works on the agency side, what is your biggest complaint about media account executives? 


I know for me, as an agency CEO, one thing that drives me crazy is an AE who doesn’t get back to you in a timely fashion.  There are reps that have to be called 5 times to get them to send a proposal and we are the ones who are getting ready to spend money with them!

I can remember one time, having a meeting with a client and a radio station well before the client’s consumer show event and as the meeting came to a close, the media rep actually said,

“hey, as we get closer to the event can one of you call to remind me to send you a proposal?”

It didn’t even occur to him that he may want to take some responsibility for remembering this.

The other thing that I get frustrated over is having reps give us a deal and then each time they lower the deal, getting us a better cost per thousand CPM, they say it is the “absolute best deal that they can offer”, until the find out that their competition is lower – then they lower it again.  Why can they just come up with the best deal to start with?

What drives you crazy as a buyer or seller of advertising?  What are things that you would like to change?

– Alan Beim

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11 Responses to “The Media Rep vs. The Ad Agency”


  1. 1 David Adelman June 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    My pet peeve is bringing in tech that they don’t know how to operate and then not being able to do the pitch when the tech breaks down.

    Frustrating because it demonstrates no respect for my time.

  2. 2 Jennifer Chandler June 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I have been a buyer for 13 years. My challenge has always been when I am in negotiations and TV/Radio reps say, “I really want on this business and will do what is necessary to earn the business” and then in the same sentence refuse to provide any of what I deem necessary to earn the business.

    The second most frustrating is when they send you an avail on the wrong books, with dayparts that aren’t acceptable so their manager thinks they are a shoe-in for the buy but in reality are completely off base.

    These are just what I find to be the biggest obstacles to working together and ultimately meeting our clients’ communication goals.

  3. 3 Alan Beim June 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Amen Jennifer on your second paragraph and does that hit home. I hate it when they send there best demo and not the one that is on our avail request. It brings to mind one more and that is when they sell you 6am to midnight spots or mid to mid and then use that to bring the cpm/cpp in but run all the spots mid-6am.

  4. 4 bob frank June 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    THis is all very interesting!

  5. 5 Julie Henry June 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    The ad agencies never seem to understand the urgency of getting their artwork in before deadline. There are two factors that make this a very important problem. First, if your ad is late getting to me, the lowly account executive, I get docked 50% of my commission on the sale. (I actually had an agency rep say, “Some money is better than no money, isn’t it?…Really?!?)
    Secondly, if your ad comes in wrong and late, you just added at least an extra couple of hours to our production department’s schedule. I have to track you down to get the ad corrected and back to me and then resubmit it to the art department who then has to re-upload it. With electronic systems, reformatting the paper to accomodate late ads takes a minimum of an hour in our system and then the graphic artist, who is hopping mad, has to track me down to approve a new proof.
    Just do us a big favor if you want your commission…get the ad in right and on time.

  6. 6 Alan Beim June 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Hey Thanks Julie, my graphic artist read your post and did not know that anyone gets commission docked, nor did I. Know that it is not always the fault of the agency but many times it is getting stuff late from the client or having them make tons of back and forth changes but as an agency we like to have stuff in early so we do not have to worry about a computer crashing or the electricity going out. Thanks!

  7. 7 Alan Beim July 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    One more thing that gets to me is when a sales rep will not give up when their media just is not right for the client. Lets say we have a client that is putting on a drag race and the market is men 18-34 and the AE for the classical music radio station just will not give up the idea that their radio station should be on the buy and they keep calling and calling and we are the type of agency that does return all calls. It is a big time waster and by the way, several years ago this example I use actually happened!

  8. 8 Claire Flowers January 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Mr. Beim,

    I was recently contacted by a media rep from your company, which I greatly appreciated. I hope our company can provide a fit for one of your clients. While looking at your website, I stumbled upon this forum.

    I would first like to thank you for proposing this question. Although I am late to respond, it is very relevant to the problems we have been facing recently. It is interesting and insightful to see from the agency side. As a small media company, we have had tremendous difficulty generating any type of response from agencies. Even when potential clients, business owners that believe in our mission, instruct their agencies to use us as an outlet for advertising, we are still seeing roadblocks.

    I understand that there are TONS of media groups wanting a piece of what can be a small pie. I also understand the frustration of having relentless salesmen banging at your door. At this point, I would just be happy to hear from an agency, negative or positive. At least that would be some type of consideration.

    Maybe you can offer some insight into this problem. Would you say this is typical of agencies? Perhaps it is because we are a new company. Thank you for this forum. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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