As Corporate Agencies Clamp Down on Drinking, Mother USA Asks Job Seekers to Drop by for a Beer

The indie agency has client Stella Artois on tap in its lobby

Headshot of David Griner

For those who’ve gotten a memo at work telling them that office drinking is going the way of Don Draper, independent agency Mother USA has its own message: Maybe it’s time for a new job.

Responding to recent news that WPP, advertising’s largest holding company, has banned drinking in work areas at its agencies and will limit drinking time to two hours in “designated areas,” Mother created the drink ticket above as an open invitation for job seekers to come by and have a beer.

Mother has a perk that makes such an offer a bit less awkward than it might be elsewhere: Its lobby is essentially a bar, with client beer brand Stella Artois (and its hard cider, Cidre) on tap every day. Tourists have even been known to mistake the unlabeled agency for a bar or coffee shop.

"We are able to create work and have a great work environment—and still be able to hold our drinks."
David Dellamura, Fame Manager, Mother New York

“Our reception is, in fact, a bar,” says agency “fame manager” David Dellamura.

The drink ticket, which the agency has posted to its social media accounts, “serves as an open invitation for creatives who are interested in Mother to come have a drink with us,” Dellamura says. “We’re looking for potential talent who understand that an inspiring and unique workplace environment should not have to suffer under the rules of prohibition-era mentality.”

Alcohol restrictions have become increasingly common in the agency world recently, coinciding with the industry’s response to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. WPP and Publicis both issued sweeping limitations on drinking at their agencies, while IPG-owned agency FCB sent out a note asking employees to stick to “responsible fun.”

With its drink ticket invitation, Mother seems to be rolling its eyes at the corporate insinuation that drinking and harassment go hand in hand. Dellamura said corporate policies overlook the fact that “if you take away the alcohol, you’re not going to take away the harassment.”

“While alcohol doesn’t equal harassment, there are always people who take advantage of a situation,” he said. “There’s zero tolerance for harassment or sexism at Mother.”

Mother hopes its invitation will appeal to the independently minded who feel their employees are treating them less like adults than reckless children.

“We’re reporting to ourselves. We’re holding ourselves responsible at the end of the day,” Dellamura said of the independent agency, whose home office is in London. “We want to attract people who share in our same values, people who find the work we do interesting. We want to attract the person who this message resonates with.”

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."