It wasn't immediately clear how much money SAG-AFTRA is putting
behind the promoted campaign, or whether it bought sponsored posts
on Facebook, or banner ads online. What's also unclear is how
spohisticated the targeting agorithm was, or how many people in
adland the messages reached. A SAG-AFTRA spokeswoman did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
The union's items on Twitter last fall were generally softer in
Droga5 has denied SAG-AFTRA's allegations of exploiting talent.
"Droga5 remains a non-signatory to the SAG commercials contract,
enabling us to engage in non-union shoots when it is deemed
appropriate," the shop said in a statement to Ad Age on Monday.
"However, when managing SAG productions, we always use SAG
performers, which include any commercials for SAG-signatory clients
or featuring any SAG celebrity talent. In those instances, we abide
by SAG rules and pay SAG wages across the board. We do not engage
SAG performers in non-union productions."
Because it is not a union agency, Droga5 can generally operate
outside the industry's contract with the union, but SAG-AFTRA
actors working a non-union job can face disciplinary charges.
Also on Monday, Sag-AFTRA said in a release that its members
would show up at Droga5's lower Manhattan headquarters, delivering
a petition that asks the agency to "stop undermining the industry
standards that ensure commercial performers can earn a middle-class
The statement said more than 8,000 members have signed the
petition. "The union will demand that Droga5 live up to its
self-professed commitment to being 'humanity obsessed' by paying
fair market wages for performers in all of their productions," the
statement said. "Droga5's current practice of paying actors
substandard wages without benefits is unfair and exploits the often
struggling performers who take the jobs."
Tension between the industry and the union has sprouted up in
recent years as marketers have increased demand for digital
content, whether that's paid, 30-second pre-roll spots that run on
YouTube or other forms of branded content like longform videos or
Vine videos. Brand budgets for these pieces of work tend to be low
enough that agencies say they sometimes can't afford union
That demand for digital content also comes at a time when many
hot shops that bloomed in the last 10 years are increasingly
sought-after by advertisers and are not themselves SAG-AFTRA