Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do You Think It Is Inappropriate to Have a Christmas Party This Year?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do You Think It Is Inappropriate to Have a Christmas Party This Year?

Article excerpt

Given tightened purse-strings and the scorn recently poured on companies such as HBOS for their lavish awards parties, we asked our panel whether this should put a dampener on office festivities.

NO - ANDREW HAWKINS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DONER CARDWELL HAWKINS

What a question. Damned for profligacy if you say 'no'; damned for miserliness if you say 'yes'; and damned for being dull if you say 'have one, but only in moderation'.

The Guardian recently used the office Christmas party as an index of the economy's decline, quoting a poll by the grandly named Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (please don't invite me to yours, I'm washing my hair that night) that showed 25% of private sector firms have cancelled theirs, while others have cut back.

Contrast this with Christmas 2007, when Barclays Capital partied for two nights at a cost of pounds 600,000, and London Metal Exchange traders celebrated Christ's birth with lap dancers, dwarves, and no wise men.

The Guardian rightly argued that cancelling Christmas is a false economy, especially as we are genetically programmed to expect a blow-out at this time of year. Maybe the answer lies in the question: just do something appropriate and have fun doing it, because if not now, then when? Merry Christmas, marketing people.

NO - MAUREEN DUFFY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NEWSPAPER MARKETING AGENCY

To thank the staff for their efforts and to motivate them for the year ahead is just as important, if not more so, when times are tough.

People are working extremely hard, often putting in extra hours, to get the job done. The Christmas party is one way of showing that their efforts are appreciated.

Of course, the state of the market affects what you do, but companies don't have to spend lavishly to give their staff a good night out People know that money is tight and they won't be going to a five-star restaurant, but to cancel the Christmas do altogether could seem petty.

Getting together for a pleasant evening, enjoying each other's company and catching up socially with the whole team is good for morale and helps to ensure that the New Year's work gets off in the right spirit.

As a business expense, the Christmas party - at a sensible level - is fully justified. …

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