Vayner Media is probably an uncomfortable place to work this morning, even for employees who had nothing to do with this incredibly awkward email.
Cannes Lions 2016 has its first truly cringeworthy moment, in the form of a party invitation seeking “attractive females and models only.”
The email went out to a number of festival participants who planned to attend The Wednesday Party, an event sponsored by digital agency VaynerMedia and media company Thrillist Media Group with a musical performance by Wyclef Jean.
The email then instructs male attendees to “contact the PR departments of the respective sponsors if they want to get into the party” and instructs all women interested in attending to “send recent untouched photos and/or your Instagram/Facebook links for you and each of your additional female guest.” It states that “once we have reviewed we will send you specific entry details.”
Ugh. That’s obviously going to piss some people off. And it did…
One female agency executive tells Adweek that she and two female colleagues all received the email while having lunch in Cannes yesterday. One then forwarded it to women’s advocate and agency veteran Cindy Gallop, who subsequently shared it on Twitter and wrote, “It’s 2016, @vaynermedia @thrillist. This is not how you party at @cannes_lions.”
Vaynerchuk responded with a series of videos taking full responsibility for the email, even though it’s obvious he had no idea about them and would never sign off on such a thing.
While Gary was apologetic about the email, Thrillist went on the defensive. Thrillist Media Group founder Ben Lerer tweeted “Guys, this is promoter spam. Would appreciate a little more credit.”
A Thrillist spokesperson states that this email blast was not a legitimate invite to the event, writing, “A third party promotions company sent this email without us knowing. We apologize to anyone who was spammed with this but it didn’t come from Thrillist or Vayner. The guest list for the party has been closed for some time and will not include anyone who replies to that email.”