Some days, it’s good to be a 2nd assistant director for commercials. The DGA announced Monday the national board approval of a tentative new national commercial contract with the AICP, and included in it is a 15.8% raise for the category. Other positions will see a standard 2% increase for each year of the three-year pact, as well as a 17.65% increase in employer contributions to the health plan, and additional contributions for directors. The agreement also gives commercial producers more flexibility on hiring for spots shot outside the U.S. and Canada, while maintaining existing employment opportunities for 1st ADs.
Talks with the AICP on the pact spanned over three separate periods during the past few months, led by associate national executive director/Eastern executive director Russ Hollander and a negotiations committee made up of DGA members. While negotiations were completed in September, with a Memo of Agreement signed earlier this month, the guild’s national board didn’t have an opportunity to vote on it until its regularly scheduled board meeting last Saturday. The board unanimously opted to send it on to membership for a ratification vote, which is expected to pass.
“Commercials represent one of the steadiest areas of work for our members, and we are pleased that the new agreement will keep our members working, secure their healthcare benefits and allow producers the flexibility they need to keep this industry vibrant and competitive,” said Hollander.
“We entered into negotiations realizing that in this changing world there are challenges to the memberships of both the AICP and DGA,” said Matt Miller, president and CEO of the AICP who acted as chief negotiator for the association’s labor committee. “Together we were able, through frank discussions, to reach an agreement that helps us each address issues that will benefit our mutual constituencies and in turn the industry as a whole.”
Ratification packages are expected to be sent to members this week, and due back sometime before the end of the year, according to the guild. With the term of the agreement beginning December 1, retroactive increases may be necessitated.
The top commercial spots for the past year are honored in the 20th annual AICP Show, which had its New York debut in June. The Art & Technique of the American Commercial, presented by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, annually recognizes a handful of commercials in each of several categories. This year, seven Media Services clients had the honor of having their ads named some of the best of the best.
MJZtopped the list of production companies honored for the sixth straight year with eight mentions. The company thrice raised its figurative glass in celebration of the Jim Beam spot “Parallels,” directed by Dante Ariola for Strawberry Frog, as the ad was recognized in the Direction, Visual Style and Cinematography categories. Meanwhile, it came out smelling manly with Old Spice’s “Questions,” helmed by by Tom Kuntz via Wieden+Kennedy and honored for Humor and Performance/Dialogue. The spot was part of the “Smell Like a Man, Man” campaign, which was also honored for Next Integrated Campaign. The company battled to glory in the Production category with “There Is a Soldier in All of Us” for Activision Call of Duty, directed by Rupert Sanders for TBWA\Chiat\Day. And it beeped its way to Sound Design honors for the DirecTV spot “Robots,” also directed by Sanders for Grey, New York.
Park Pictures channeled its Dark Side with Volkswagen’s “The Force,” which ruled the spotmaking galaxy with honors in five categories, including a rare tie for the best-in-show category Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial. Directed by Lance Acord for Deutsch, Inc., the commercial also received honors in the Direction, Editorial, Performance/ Dialogue, and Next Viral/Web Film categories. Along with Alejandro González Iñárritu, Acord was the most honored director in the Show.
Hungry Man wrote its own ticket with two Copywriting honors, one for American Express’s Bryan Buckley-directed “Conan-India” and the other for VH1’s “Anti-Rockstar,” also directed by Buckley. received three honors for two commercials, both directed by Bryan Buckley. “Conan-India” also whittled out honors in the Editorial category.
Harvest Films made beautiful Original Music in “Unsweetened Truth,” directed by Baker Smith for Arnold Worldwide; the “Truth” campaign also was recognized in the PSA category for “Gruen/Denial.”
Mother New York was looking stylish with Target’s “Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular,” which was recognized for Next Integrated Campaign and Next Experiential.
Boxer moved judges in the Cinematography department with VW Touareg’s “Origin,” directed by Robert Groenwold through AKQA, while Drive Thru TV melted their hearts with “Butter,” directed by Roger Sackett for YMCA via Preston Kelly, taking honors in the Low Budget category.
This year’s show was chaired by SMUGGLER managing partner & co-founder Brian Carmody, with over 300 judges participating from across the country. It had its traditional debut at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where it will become part of the film department archives, and then appeared at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art July 27.
The show will next be seen in San Francisco on September 20th, then make its way through Minneapolis, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Chicago and Boston throughout the fall. For more information and to see the honored work, visit the AICP site.
AICP Show 2011 – Complete List of Production Company Honorees
Next Integrated Campaign—Old Spice “Smell Like A Man, Man Integrated Campaign
Production—Activision Call of Duty “There’s a Soldier In All of US”
Direction—Jim Beam “Parallels”
Visual Style—Jim Beam “Parallels”
Cinematography—Jim Beam “Parallels”
Humor—Old Spice “Questions”
Performance/Dialogue—Old Spice “Questions”
Sound Design—DirecTV “Robots”
5 Honors—Park Pictures
Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial—Volkswagen “The Force”
Direction—Volkswagen “The Force”
Editorial—Volkswagen “The Force”
Performance/Dialogue—Volkswagen “The Force”
Next Viral/Web Film—Volkswagen “The Force”
5 Honors—Independent Films London, Anonymous Content
Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial—Nike “Write The Future”
Next Integrated Campaign—Nike “Write The Future”
Production—Nike “Write The Future”
Direction—Nike “Write The Future”
Next Viral/Web Film—Nike “Write The Future”
2 Honors Each
Mother New York
1 Honor Each
@radical.media, B-Reel Films (co-production)
Anonymous @ Exit Films
Don’t Act Big
Drive Thru TV
FOX Sports Net
The Mill, NY
Despite a faltering economy in the U.S. and abroad, so far advertising is holding strong, particularly for television commercials. While analysts have slightly revised earlier expectations for the year in ad spending, they remain upbeat on the whole, projecting between 4 and 5% growth for the year. And as evidenced by the recent upfront market in New York, advertisers are showing no signs of slowing down their TV spot buying anytime soon. Indeed, the traditional medium remains by far the strongest sector for ad dollars despite heavy competition from online and mobile platforms. Marketers have decided that at least for now, there is no other format with the unifying reach of television.
As reported in a New York Times article Sunday, top broadcast and cable companies have boasted surging revenues to nervous investors. The uptick is being driven largely by a robust upfront market, in which advertisers commit to TV ad slots for the coming prime time season.
While in recent years the upfront market has gotten off to some shaky starts and has come off relatively sluggishly overall, the 2011 upfronts started with a bang in May, and fueled by a revitalized auto ad spend, ended with the networks posting double-digit gains over 2010. Add to that a strong scatter market throughout the last season, and it’s clear the TV commercial isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.