As one more year comes to a close, our society is collectively freaking out over its newfound sensitivity to creating safe, comfortable workplaces for all employees. Advertising agencies have taken their own approaches to the Weinstein wave with the ultimate goal of reducing or, ideally, eliminating the risk of bad behavior among staff members.
About a week ago, for example, The Wall Street Journal and later Digiday reported on a memo that FCB worldwide CEO Carter Murray sent to all staff, suggesting that they have “Responsible Fun” this year, rather than “Stupid Fun” or “Regrettable Fun.”
Murray specifically warned against sharing dumb and/or embarrassing pictures on social media and warned staff members that, should they feel the need to “gyrate” to the music, they would be best advised to keep their hands to themselves.
This week, Publicis employees got a more specific note telling them to lock up all the alcohol … at least until 6 PM.
Now, a memo sent out to the agencies in the KBS wing of MDC Partners (KBS, The Media Kitchen and Attention) takes a different tack by suggesting that everyone simply follow “the Mom Rule.”
What is that rule, exactly? It’s pretty simple: whenever you’re deciding whether or not to do something, just imagine that it involves your mom.
Dear KBS-ers, TMK-ers and Attention-ers,
We know you’re all ready to let loose at Thursday’s Holiday Party. Trust me, all of HR is prepared to get turnt after a dreadful period of open enrollment. But no matter how wild you get, we remind you to do so responsibly.
Now, we understand responsibly getting wild sounds like some kind of oxymoron. So to help you understand where the boundary lies of what is responsible we present you with the Mom Rule.
The Mom Rule is simple. If you’re in a questionable situation, treat your co-workers as if they were your Mom or insert your Mom into the situation.
So lets apply the Mom Rule to some situations you may encounter Thursday night.
If you misbehave at the party, can you blame it on the alcohol? Absolutely not. First of all, you wouldn’t misbehave in front of your Mom. Second, in the rare chance you did, your Mom wouldn’t accept alcohol as an excuse. Even if you are her little bundle of joy you’re always responsible for your actions, alcohol or not.
Can you post other people’s misbehavior to social media? Nope. Would you post a picture of your Mom misbehaving to social media? We didn’t think so. Your Mom also wouldn’t like to see a picture of you or anyone else misbehaving either.
You have an off color joke to tell, should you share it? No, again. Your Mom isn’t a fan of toilet humor and she doesn’t want to wash your mouth out with soap, she’s got reading to do for book club tomorrow night.
You’re under mistletoe with a co-worker, is it OK to go in for a kiss? Eww and no. If you were under mistletoe with your Mom or in any situation that, well, you get it.
If your jam comes on is it OK to dance with someone to let them know you know all the lyrics? Yes, but dance with them like they’re your Mom. We don’t think this needs explanation either.
If you leave the party with co-workers, do your titles still matter? Yes. If you left your home and went to Chili’s because your Mom loves the 2 for $22 deal, she would still be your Mom at Chili’s. Co-workers are co-workers and your mom is your mom. The end.
The note was signed by KBS global CEO Guy Hayward. It’s similar to Murray’s note in that it addresses potentially serious matters with a light-hearted tone.
The mom juxtaposition does strike us as a bit odd, though. And we must sadly report that there is no longer an operating Chili’s location in Manhattan, meaning KBS staff members would have to go to Jersey City, Forest Hills or … yes … Staten Island.
But we’ve yet to receive any social media pictures of the party, so maybe The Mom Rule worked after all.
MDC Partners hasn’t commented on the note.