The commercial actors unions claim TV production companies and other intermediaries representing some 33 major advertisers have caved into union demands--for the short term--by signing the unions' interim agreement.
The agreement permits advertisers to use union on-air talent, but at higher rates than the previous contract, which expired May 1. Six of the top 10 advertisers--General Motors Corp., Philip Morris Cos., Ford Motor Co., AT&T Corp., DaimlerChrysler, and PepsiCo--have produced commercials under these agreements of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, according to the unions.
Other advertisers include: America Online, British Airways, McDonald's Corp., Sprint PCS, RadioShack Corp., T.J. Maxx, White Castle, Nordstrom, Levi Strauss & Co., J.C. Penney & Co., Toyota Motor Sales USA, Carl's Jr., American Isuzu Motors, Priceline.com, American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura division, Compaq Computer Corp., Public Broadcasting Service, Washington Post Co., Marriott International, Greyhound Lines, Nestle-owned Perrier, Seagram Beverage Co.'s Grolsch beer, Yahoo! and Charles Schwab & Co.
Ira Shepard, counsel to the Joint Policy Committee of Talent Union Relations of the Association of National Advertisers and American Association of Advertising Agencies, doubted the accuracy of this list. He added that perhaps a tiny percentage of these companies' entire ad campaigns are being produced through these agreements. "It confirms that the vast majority of advertisers are doing the commercials non-union,'' he said.
Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.