SAG-AFTRA Agents Bulletin

The Actor’s Advocate
January 2017

The SAG-AFTRA 2016 Commercials Contracts
Seasonal Commercials

Happy New Year! To keep the festivities going, the Commercials Department is sharing some fun facts about seasonal commercials.  Enjoy!

A seasonal commercial:

  • Must be related to a particular season or holiday. It could be a major holiday like Christmas, but it also could be related to Oktoberfest, or even Back to School.

o  Bonus fun fact—tax season is not a season, since you can always file for an extension and submit your taxes at a different time of year!

  • Must be described as a seasonal commercial in writing on the performer’s contract.
  • May run for one 13-week cycle and can be extended for two weeks. This means a seasonal commercial may air for a total of 15 weeks.
  • May run for two consecutive seasons, as long as one of those is the first season after it is made.

o  A “season” here means the time of year for which it was produced, e.g., the first Memorial Day after the session date for a Memorial Day sale.

  • Must pay a holding fee to principal performers between seasons——if the producer wants to air it in the second season.

o  The holding fee may not be credited against any use fees.  Ever.

Exclusivity? Bah, humbug! Never in seasonal commercials!

Example: In September 2016, your client appeared in a Christmas commercial for Audi. Her contract specifically stated it was a seasonal commercial.

  • Scenario 1: The Audi spot ran during the Christmas season of 2016. There is no plan to use the commercial again. Your client is paid for one cycle of use.  Payment is due 15 business days after it first airs.
  • Scenario 2: The Audi spot ran during the Christmas season of 2016, and it will be used again during the Christmas season of 2017. Your client is paid for one cycle of use 15 business days after it first starts airing.  Since the spot is going to be used again in 2017, your client is paid a holding fee at the end of the 2016 use which will allow the producer to use the spot in 2017. After the end of the second consecutive use cycle, Christmas 2017, if the producer would like to use the spot during the Christmas season of 2018, it will need to come back to you, her agent, to negotiate for use.
  • Scenario 3: Even though your client shot the spot in September 2016, her mom will have to wait until December 2017 to see her in the spot as the producer is skipping the Christmas season of 2016.  Despite the fact that the spot did not run during the Christmas season of 2016, your client will still have to be paid a holding fee to use it during the Christmas  season of 2017, the second consecutive season after the work date. If the producer would like to use it for Christmas 2018, the third consecutive cycle, they will need to contact you, her agent, and negotiate for use.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Commercials Department at 323-549-6858 in Los Angeles or 212-827-1454 in New York if you have any questions.

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