This video has kicked up quite a fuss. See the update below:
SAG’s new leaders have issued a statement Thursday disputing this video referring to product integration that is posted on YouTube and linked at DHD. However, the video clearly presents the argument against product integration which SAG’s former leadership presented in their official guild statements about why they were were against it. See both sides below.
SAG’s new statement claims: “This video is incorrect and is an example of what a producer cannot do under the terms of the tentative agreement. The tentative agreement does not make any changes relating to ‘Product Integration.’ The contract rules on that point remain exactly the same. For example, if the producer of a television show or theatrical motion picture wants an actor in that production to perform in a commercial (other than a promo or trailer promoting the production itself), the Producer must bargain separately for that performance and must comply with the Commercials Contract if they want to employ a SAG member for that purpose. While Product Integration remains an area where we will continue working to secure greater protections in the future, the maker of this video is mistaken in his belief that this tentative agreement does anything to facilitate Product Integration or make it any more permissible than it ever has been under our contracts.”
However, product integration was a major battleground area for SAG’s previous leadership, and the official SAG website used to explain the issue thusly (and which is in keeping with what the video says):
Why shouldn’t actors just be flexible and endorse whatever products are slipped into their scripts?
Because product integration is really just unpaid commercial endorsement and could put an actor in conflict with his or her commercial work or personal convictions. An actor should be notified and have the right of consent and the ability to bargain for compensation.
Shouldn’t You Have the Choice Whether or Not to Do a Commercial Within a Scripted TV Show or Movie?
Screen Actors Guild isn’t opposed to product integration, which helps pay production costs, but actors should have the right to agree to or decline a sales pitch within scripted programs, and they should get paid additional money when they do agree. As commercial actors know, product endorsement is an art in itself. Speaking lines that promote a product has added value that should be rewarded. Furthermore, repeatedly promoting products within shows and movies could easily diminish your value to advertisers in making actual paid commercials. And of course, you would never want to be in a situation that you can’t say no to products and companies you would otherwise never endorse. Producers need to find additional revenue sources, but actors need a reasonable mechanism to be fairly compensated. We also need a joint labor/management study to measure the ongoing impact of product integration.
Finally, George Clooney’s PR Rep Stan Rosenfield says: “Mr. Clooney’s support of a “yes” vote has been well documented.” But nowhere in this video does it say that Clooney is voting “no”. So why the hysteria?