It’s holiday party season. Just last year, the corporate holiday party took a nosedive thanks to the slumping economy and the possible PR backlash. Who wanted to flaunt their wealth (if applicable) when millions of Americans were looking for work?
According to the executive search firm Amrop Battalia Winston, 2009 was the slowest season in 22 years. If major corporations held parties, they did so quietly. Others, like many big banks in search of good PR, preferred to donate the funds set aside for a party to charity. Not GoDaddy.com, however. They went all out.
Held at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, GoDaddy.com’s party featured a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and employees could try and win a chunk of the $1 million in cash-prize giveaways. Jewel, George Thorogood, and ZZ Top all performed. Makes your top-shelf open bar seem a little lame, doesn't it? Though they had good reason to celebrate, thanks to a 25-percent year-over-year increase in sales. Still, if you were an employee, wouldn’t you rather have them give you a bonus instead of spending all that money on the bash?
So what’s the forecast for this year? According to Reuters, 74 versus 79 percent of businesses will be celebrating. With slow economic growth, those companies that are hosting a party are reeling in the excess of years past. According to MSNBC, this year’s festivities are expected to be smaller, more casual, and less boozy. “There used to be a lot more lavish alcohol displays — things like martini luges,” said Todd Fiscus of Todd Events.
The jury is out on whether the ice bars and live animals of yore are gone for good, but they can live on in all of our minds. In the pre-recession years, many other major companies have performed up to Go Daddy’s standards in the party department. In 2007, MTV hired models to play Twister inside snow globes. Yes, inside. And in the same room where greats like Jay-Z and the Dave Matthews Band have played before. You’ll never look at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the same way again.
It goes to show that even if you have money, sometimes you don’t have taste.