The comedian, Harry Enfield, has launched a blistering attack on
Britain’s ad industry, accusing it of hypocrisy in its dispute with the
actors’ union, Equity.
The actor and writer, who has starred in a series of ads for Mercury
phones, Worthington beer and Hula Hoops, and provided voice-overs for
others, claims that it is agency chiefs who are overpaid rather than the
Equity members whose fees they are trying to drive down.
And he accuses the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising of picking
on highly paid voiceover artists as a ’soft target’ and using them as a
means of scrapping agreements with Equity so that it can cut fees of
actors appearing in commercials.
Enfield’s tirade in the Sunday Telegraph reflects the growing bitterness
being generated by the dispute over voiceover fees, which has led to a
boycott of UK commercials production by Equity members. The union says
that the effect of the industry’s demands would be to slash payments for
voiceovers by two-thirds.
In his article, Enfield claims there are many other areas in which
clients can save money rather than squeezing the small percentage of a
commercial’s cost that goes to actors. ’A few egos at the top think they
are Margaret Thatcher taking on the miners,’ he claims.
He is also scathing about agency creatives, whom he accuses of being
’removed from reality’, overpaid for minimal amounts of work and having
exaggerated opinions of their own talent.
’Being skilled in the art of deception, they cloak their own high costs
in the mystique of creativity,’ he says. ’The agencies are taking their
clients for a ride.’
Equity analysis, p12.