The labor union representing roughly 160,000 actors, announcers, singers and other performers is not so subtly calling out Droga5 on Twitter. SAG is concerned that many digital ad agencies cut corners by working with non-union performers and underpaying those performers for their work.
" … Some agencies have a double standard. They pay market rates for union directors, actors and crews—when they need to. Other times, they're hiring nonprofessional actors and paying substandard wages without benefits to them, while working with union crews," SAG noted in its initial blog post about its social campaign.
The union argues this practice hurts both non-union performers, who get paid a lower wage, and union performers because it "erodes the good wages and benefits union actors have worked to achieve over the years."
Beginning in October, the organization started tweeting at Droga5 and its creative chairman and founder David Droga, hoping to convince the agency to partner with SAG on all future projects.
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) October 12, 2015
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) October 20, 2015
Droga5 won't be the only target in the campaign, though. SAG has plans to broaden its efforts in the coming months, hoping to start a conversation with other digital advertising agencies. Those in support of SAG's message can sign a petition to encourage digital agencies to help the union achieve equal pay for all performers.
"We hope Droga5 hears SAG-AFTRA members' message, and thinks hard about whether it's time to live up to its self-professed values. Slogans are all well and good (and expected in the ad biz), but eroding industry standards for the most vulnerable performers isn't consistent with being 'humanity obsessed,'" the union said in its blog post.
In response to the campaign, Droga5 noted that when working with SAG clients, it abides by the union's guidelines.
"At Droga5 we are not signatory to the SAG commercials contract and are within our rights to engage in non-union shoots. However, we always use SAG performers in the SAG productions we manage, which include any commercial for a SAG-signatory client or feature any SAG celebrity talent. In those instances we abide by SAG rules and pay SAG wages across the board. We do not use SAG performers in non-union productions," the agency said in a statement.