The ad industry is maintaining its hardline stance against Equity,
despite growing fears that a boycott imposed by the actors’ union is
causing serious disruption to commercials production.
Employers’ representatives left a meeting with officials of ACAS on
Friday, adamant that the arbitration service should not be called in to
mediate and warning Equity members that if they continued refusing to do
TV ads ’it is likely that more and more scripts will be written which do
not require them’.
But the lingering confrontation is causing serious disquiet among some
creative directors, who believe it is too high a price to be paid when
set against the harm being done to commercials production.
The dispute is over fees for voiceovers, which industry negotiators say
must be pegged because they are out of line with payments to on-screen
actors. Equity, which claims voiceover artists’ fees would be cut by a
third if employers’ demands were accepted, ordered a total boycott of UK
commercials production by all its members four months ago.
But one leading creative director said this week: ’My workload is
increased trying to find ways around the problems this dispute is
Some creative chiefs claim the dispute is not saving money because of
the extra time needed to coax the right performances out of
non-professional actors. They also allege that the confrontation is
being driven by major advertisers less reliant on personalities to front
But at a meeting at the London headquarters of the Institute of
Practitioners in Advertising on Wednesday, agency managing directors, TV
heads and creative directors played down suggestions of widespread
Meanwhile Prunella Scales, star of Lowe Howard-Spink’s Tesco
commercials, was one of a number of leading actors to hit out at Steven
Berkoff, the actor and director, who has broken ranks to do voiceovers
on a series of Leo Burnett commercials for McDonald’s.