Beer Fridays: Ultimate Agency Culture

Since I've been on a theme this week about company culture, I’ll talk about Beer Fridays. Sorry it’s a late post, but I was out testing martinis yesterday. Really.

Drinking has long been a tradition in advertising. Three Martini Lunch. Cocktails with clients. Legends are born from these traditions.

Aren’t you proud.

In these modern times, we all have microbrews stashed in our mini-fridges so we can pop a cold one when we’re done on Friday at 3pm. Or something like that.

And often, those brews are cracked open at other celebratory times – when a pitch is won, a client lost, you’re pissed at your CD, or you just got something done. Woo hoo!

The best agency is one that has a smokin’ micro-brew account. Awesome beer – always free – on Friday and it’s fresh. In a keg. No bottles to testify to how much you all drank. Just one Red Solo Cup – refilled many times. Everyone loves that client.

Anyway, back to culture. How did we get from suits and scotch to flannel and beer?

Because of creativity.

Drinking doesn't go away in advertising because – get this – it enhances creativity! As if you were looking for a reason, a study published by the good folks at The Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago found that alcohol can help with creativity. An article in Psychology Today about the study summed it up nicely:

“Simply put, people’s ability to think about information in new and unusual ways can actually be hampered when they wield too much brain power. What Dr. Jennifer Wiley and her team have found is that one way to get around this is to have a couple of drinks.”
(emphasis added)

Channeling your inner Hemingway has never been more legit.

So now that you've got creativity does the etiquette part work? Well, since you spend more awake time with your colleagues than your favorite partner – don’t get stupid. And we all know what stupid is. Been there or watched it first-hand. I do not have to give you bullet-points on what not to do.

In an agency, culture is nurtured from legend and folklore. The stories of the founders’ struggles and triumphs, magnificent creative, the campaign that changed everything – all seems so old school. It isn't.

Bottom line – whether you’re in one of the big old agencies that are a part of a Humongous Holding Company, or you’re working in The Hottest Digital Startup – the guys and gals who sign your paycheck have worked hard to get where they are. Many have put everything on the line so they could become successful and hire you.

Have some respect. Working in advertising does not give you the right to drink on the job. It is a perk that is part of the culture in many agencies. So imbibe wisely. And be nice to one another.

Don’t embarrass the boss or client, be cool with the alcohol and get your work done. On time. Thanks.