Google Hangout happy hours, Zoom cocktail meet-ups, Wine FaceTime sessions, quarantinis. There’s a lot that the advertising industry is missing during these days of social distancing, but let’s be honest, going to bars with peers and clients is definitely high on the list.
Cross-cultural creative agency the community isn’t afraid to admit that, which is how the idea for its new fundraising initiative was born. The shop recently launched "the community Bar," an effort that invites the agency’s favorite local bartenders, who are out of work due to the coronavirus, to join in for a happy hour.
But the initiative isn’t just a virtual toast – it’s a way to help the out-of-work bartenders financially during these uncertain times. For each fresh drink poured during the event, the community tips the bartender via Venmo.
In Miami, the community joined a virtual happy hour to support Camilo, a bartender from The New Yorker Bar, and raised $1,000 for him during the event. "The virtual happy hour with the community was a very good opportunity for our bar to stay connected with our guests while helping our staff in this difficult situation," said Camilo.
In San Francisco, the community raised $800 for a bartender named David from Hotel San Francisco, while the New York office is set to host a virtual happy hour this week for a bartender from The Walker. Before launching the community Bar, the shop held a GoFundMe for local businesses in March that raised nearly $6,000.
Now, the community has opened the microsite to all agencies in the industry to help as many bartenders as possible right now. The site includes the rules, best practices for agencies to follow and some fun backgrounds to put on your screen during the virtual happy hours.
"We’ve been doing this for three weeks and it’s a fun way to raise money, which is really what people need most right now. And it’s important for our agency, which is called the community for a reason," said Frank Cartagena, the community’s New York executive creative director, who spearheaded the idea.
He added: "This is one of the many ways we’re helping. These bars have become like a part of our agency. When we first started lock-down we asked ourselves who are the people who are part of our community who aren’t necessarily on payroll. With Community Bars, we’d love for other agencies to take this idea and put good people back to work for a night."