Them :


We’re keen to host some house parties at the houses of some of our friends in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The format is quite simple. You invite about 20-30 of your friends, we send you a bar + bartender + drinks + music/speaker + a party kit.. and not much more! (well, complete details are below).

Think you’d be open to doing this? On a date of your convenience, ideally some time at the end of this month. Let me know your thoughts please?


Host will make sure that all guests consuming alcohol at the party are above the legal drinking age in the city.
Host will ensure that no guests drink and drive
Host will ensure that the party does not move outdoors or to a terrace/garden, and that the society and their neighbors have no problem with the host hosting this party
Host will provide electricity and plug points for speaker and some lighting being provide with the party kit
Host will not serve any other brands of alcohol at the party except those <redacted> brands provided by the bartender
Host will give access to the house party representative and the bartender at 5:00pm on the day of the party to setup, and also allow for the representative to take a few pictures of the party


This is not a diss at a particular brand or agency – I get a lot of emails like this and I have not signed up to a single one of these. I would call them “gigs” but those need to be paid for. It’s called “work” and if it isn’t paid for, it’s “slavery”. This particular story was triggered after quite a nice, crisp, professional exchange with a lovely chap – so it’s not a dig at him.


Firstly, the reason I’m defining it as work : you had to email me about it and it involved two brands and you want photos of my guests to use. WORK. Ergo, PAID.

Secondly, where is the food? Guidelines for the host to ensure people don’t get drunk and drive or are above the legal age limit are all well and good. But where’s the grub to help ensure this guideline? Do you know how much food 20 drunk people consume? There’s no way in hell I’m cooking and if I’m going to be ordering, the brand better foot that bill. If there were no photos involved, I might even consider doing it at no cost to me, which means at least FOOD.

Thirdly, not serving any other brand of alcohol means BRANDED gig. Ergo, needs to be PAID.

Fourth, photos. How about sharing where these photos will be used? The photos will contain likenesses of all my guests, me and my home – or my friend’s home and I need to inform them of usage. Contrary to popular belief, people DO care where their mug ends up. If a brand is going to be using these photos for anything except internal use, there need to be model releases signed by all guests, which would bring up the question of PAYMENT yet again. If the photos are only going to be used on my blog for example, and only I am doing the photographing, I might get away with no formal model releases because they’re my friends. Pray tell why the onus of securing releases rests on the host?

Fifth, how is the host supposed to ensure no drinking and driving? Instead, how about the brand ensures everyone is given a cab? Even a branded one! How cool would that be!


There are SO MANY holes in this approach that I couldn’t possibly be arsed dissecting everything. In general, the above points are the most in-your-face glaring problems with this “house party” model.

“But Naina, come on! You’re getting free booze, free party setup, it’s just food bro, no big deal to arrange no?”

If it was a party I was throwing and inviting my friends / acquaintances and blogging it as a personal house party, yes, no big deal. The moment a brand is involved and is gaining value from said “activity”, that value needs to have equivalent returns for me and my guests. I shouldn’t have to further pay out of my pocket to make this happen for the brand – where is my advantage?

A more useful approach would have been if the brand had said, “Here’s a few crates of booze, do whatever the fuck you want.” 

“But Naina, there’s no guarantee of returns for the brand in this case! What if the person receiving all the free booze does NOTHING?!”

That is the catch isn’t it? If you’re giving free stuff, you can’t ask for anything in return. If the person receiving the booze does do something, that’s awesome. If not, maybe ask them how you might engage with them professionally? For example, till about a few months ago, whenever a brand sent me anything as a “gift”, I did a social media update on receipt of said gift and tagged the brand’s handle. I have stopped doing this now because OMG my house is full of boxes of shit I’m never going to use! I spend more time giving things away than working on projects I love. In order to make this problem go away, I have stopped posting social media updates unless I actually end up using the product.

I don’t know anyone who would not immediately post a “showing-off” update if they receive a crate of free booze.


More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all true stories by the way. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )




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