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Ad execs are swapping swanky clubs for beer gardens to get client face time, and shared 10 go-to spots

  • Ad execs are resuming in-person client meetings, but offices are just starting to reopen.
  • Execs are having to find other creative places to do business, like golf courses and office backyards.
  • Insider surveyed ad execs on their favorite spots to impress clients.

In-person meetings are critical to advertising execs trying to court clients and win new ones.

But with many advertising offices not yet fully reopened or reduced in size by the pandemic, agency execs have had to find new places to network and entertain.

Ad execs told Insider the go-to places they’re meeting to get business done, including restaurants and outdoor activities like golf and hiking trips.

Backyard meetings, golfing and hiking

The cofounders of creative studio Movers+Shakers, CEO Evan Horowitz and chief creative officer Geoffrey Goldberg, turned their backyard into a conference room during the pandemic and hosted wine spritzers for clients and interviews for new hires.

Richard Black, president and general manager of entertainment and branding company Superfly, said the company is hosting brands and prospective clients at their events for meetings.

“Want to talk about Bravocon? Meet us at the Javits Center in New York,” Black said. “Interested in festivals? Be our guest at Outside Lands in San Francisco.”

Other agency execs are opting for other outdoor activities. 

Dylan Conroy, chief revenue officer of influencer marketing agency The Social Standard, traveled for six weeks across the country in his RV meeting clients. He took one on a hike in Vegas and met another in Scottsdale, Arizona, for sushi. He’s also holding meetings with top influencers at a charity golf tournament this week.

“Traveling the country in my RV has definitely helped me stay connected to clients, colleagues, and prospects,” Conroy said.

Jonathan Schoenberg, executive creative director and co-owner of ad agency TDA Boulder, said he’s met people in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado, Colorado’s Mt. Sanitas, and gone golfing. “The nice thing about being located in Colorado is the access to the beautiful outdoors.” 

twoxfour associate producer Amanda Dunal at the Brookfield Zoo

Amanda Dunal, associate producer at twoxfour, at client The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

twoxfour


David Stevenson, founder and CEO of Chicago-based agency Twoxfour, said he and his team recently met their client, the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, at the zoo itself for a brainstorming session. The agency got to take advantage of the zoo’s outdoor space and partake in activities like feeding giraffes.

“Our most unique business meeting had a few unusual guests — tigers, elephants, and giraffes,” he said.

Outdoor restaurants

Restaurant meetings haven’t gone away, of course. Barry Lowenthal, CEO of MDC’s Media Kitchen, said he’s been meeting clients at restaurants two to three times a week, mainly frequenting restaurants with outdoor seating options, like the Oculus Beer Garden in lower Manhattan. He’s also a big fan of New York mainstays Sant Ambroeus and the Odeon. 

Forming and maintaining relationships with clients matters “now more than ever,” he said.

Conroy is partial to Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Francisco, where patrons can light a cigar on the patio.

Greg Assemat Tessandier, president of IPG agency Elephant, recently took a client to Good Thanks Cafe in New York’s Lower East Side, where the menu has something for everyone. 

“Client had an açaí bowl, I had an espresso with a croissant. He is from Tel Aviv. I’m from Paris,” he said.

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