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March 28th, 2014
Ad-ID Deadline for SAG-AFTRA Commercials is April 1
As of April 1, 2014, all commercials produced under the SAG-AFTRA contract featuring SAG-AFTRA talent must incorporate the Ad-ID coding mechanism for commercial tracking and calculating appropriate payments.The Ad-ID system was developed by the American Association of Advertising Agencies ("4A's") and the Association of National Advertisers ("ANA") in 2003 to standardize a tracking system for commercial usage. The Ad-ID system digitally generates a unique 11 or 12 digit identifying code for each commercial, and applies that code to all media, helping advertisers and the SAG-AFTRA union (the "Union") track residuals and other payments owed to talent and related entities. To implement the system, advertisers/agencies must register a "prefix" with Ad-ID, and then purchase unique codes for commercials, at Ad-ID's established rates. See here.
In 2012, the Joint Policy Committee ("JPC") admitted that identifying codes for commercials were not being used consistently, causing advertisers to estimate - rather than calculate - required use fees. Thereafter, the 4A's and the ANA boards adopted Ad-ID as the industry standard. In April 2013, as a byproduct of the 2013 Contract negotiations, the JPC and the Union agreed to mandate the universal adoption of Ad-ID, but granted a grace period through March 31, 2014 for advertisers and agencies to get up to speed. Nonetheless, Ad-ID estimates that the current compliance rate is only at about 65%.
So, are you ready? A few things to keep in mind as this April 1, 2014 deadline approaches:
- Ad-ID encourages purchasing appropriate Ad-ID codes as soon as you are contracting with SAG-AFTRA talent. Nonetheless, it's still possible to get the codes later in the process;
- Although the Union may prefer it, you are not required to re-slate a commercial produced prior to April 1, 2014 that airs thereafter, unless you make edits or changes to the commercial making it a "new" commercial under the Contract;
- If you don't comply, you may have problems filing routine reports with the Union and you may be unable to access various databases to confirm airings or defend disputes with the Union;
- There may be legitimate business reasons not to comply, but the Union hasn't clearly stated what those reasons may be; and
- Whether or not you are a Contract signatory is largely immaterial - the requirements apply with respect to any commercials using Union talent. However, if you are not a Contract signatory, you may want to confirm your designated Contract signatory is complying.
If you have any questions about this deadline, details about Ad-ID, SAG-AFTRA, or any other advertising or marketing law issues, please contact Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, Brian Murphy, Candice Kersh, Michael Schiffer or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Advertising Group.
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