Advertising alert – Influencers can now benefit from the new SAG-AFTRA agreement


As influencer marketing transforms the advertising industry, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (“SAG-AFTRA”) has extended its services and coverage to these popular content creators who make the news. brand promotion.

SAG-AFTRA referenced a Business Insider report that the size of the global influencer market is expected to reach over $ 23 billion by 2025, with brands expected to spend up to $ 15 billion on influencer marketing. by 2022. Despite generating billions in revenue for brands and collectively becoming an advertising powerhouse, influencers have often operated without the protection and services of a formal union.

To address this need, in February 2021, the SAG-AFTRA National Council approved an agreement (the “Influence Contract”) that would cover sponsored content produced in accordance with the underlying contracts between influencers and advertisers. Prior to this announcement, the only advertising platform covered by SAG-AFTRA’s services was YouTube. The union’s new influencer deal extends that coverage to include advertising on a variety of social media platforms.

Brands should note that the union has created a path to protect influencers. This recognition from SAG-AFTRA has given influencers the opportunity to earn union income, qualify for health and retirement benefits, and potentially become full union members. Brands need to fully understand the implications of SAG-AFTRA’s coverage for influencers.

Sponsored content contract produced by influencers 2021

Above all, SAG-AFTRA has not defined a specific number of subscribers for a person to be considered an influencer. The union did, however, go into some important details about how an influencer does business and what kind of content would qualify.

The influence agreement, a sample of which can be found HERE, governs the relationship between the influencer and the union. It contains several important terms that influencers should consider when creating their content agreements with advertisers.

  • The influencer must contract with the advertiser through a limited liability company or a company created, controlled and operated on behalf of the influencer, known as the “producer”.
  • The influencer, alone, must produce and distribute the content without any collaborator, such as an advertising agency, production company or public relations company.
  • Influencer content should be posted or exhibited only on the influencer’s and / or advertiser’s own websites, social media accounts or YouTube channels.
  • Content cannot feature other people or use a set.
  • Content broadcast or recorded on camera or in voiceover that is not self-produced and / or that falls under the jurisdiction of any other SAG-AFTRA contract (for example, television commercials or motion pictures) is not covered by the Influence agreement.
  • The influencer must own the intellectual property of the content. It cannot be a work produced on behalf of the advertiser or a third party.
  • The influencer compensation can be freely negotiated and there is no dollar amount limit.
  • Influencer content may be used for a maximum period of one (1) year from the date of the first post, unless a longer term is agreed in writing by the producer and / or influencer and the ‘advertiser.
  • The content may not contain stunts, unsafe conditions, nudity, or sexually explicit content.

In addition, if the influencer wishes to claim the SAG-AFTRA benefits in accordance with the contract with the advertiser, he must agree to pay SAG-AFTRA contributions of 19% of the remuneration attributable to the camera and / or voice services. off of the influencer. retirement and health plans. These payments are not the responsibility of the brand.

The SAG-AFTRA website has several influencer resources to help influencers understand the influence deal, such as the Influence 101 deal and an influencer deal fact sheet.

Waiver of SAG-AFTRA influencers

An exemption for sponsored content produced by an influencer (“Influencer Release”) applies to content sponsored by an influencer that involves a signatory of a SAG-AFTRA advertising contract or of a joint political committee (partner negotiation for SAG-AFTRA advertising contracts) authorizing agency or advertiser advertising.

The Influencer Waiver, which can be read HERE, contains many of the same provisions as the Influencer Agreement and also allows influencer content to be distributed on other channels, platforms or mediums (for example, television) with the consent of the influencer.

Key takeaways for brands

Brands that use influencers need to review their policies for hiring union talent. If the advertiser is a non-union store, they will want to strengthen their contractual guarantees that the influencer is not a member of any union.

If you are contracting with an influencer participating in the SAG-AFTRA influencer agreement, here are a few things to remember:

  • Prior to the publication of the Influencer Agreement and Influencer Waiver, it was not entirely clear to brands that wanted to use influencers for digital distribution whether SAG-AFTRA would treat the content as an advertisement. Now brands can rest assured that digital content that meets the requirements of the new direction will not be subject to minimum charges under the union’s advertising contract.
  • As compensation can be freely negotiated, minimum charges are not a problem.
  • The influence agreement itself is not clear whether the brand will have to remove content after the expiration of the one-year maximum usage period or the negotiated period. Influence exemption, on the other hand, allows for extended use with the influencer consent. At the same time, the influencer waiver makes it clear that content that remains live but is clearly connected on the original publication date will not require any additional payment. If, however, the influencer requests removal of the content, the advertiser must comply.
  • What if the brand wanted to use content beyond social media on other platforms covered by collective agreements with SAG-AFTRA? While this issue was initially unclear, the influencer waiver now provides a path forward for such uses, with the consent of the influencer.
  • Even though it is (for now) the influencer’s sole responsibility to make all pension and health contributions, will influencers pass this line item on to non-signatory brands? Will influencers start demanding the equivalent amount as additional compensation? The influencer exemption suggests a methodology for doing this based on a clear differentiation between remuneration and contributions.
  • Certainly, the advertiser needs to include guarantees in their deal that the influencer will be responsible for all union requirements, whether or not it’s an additional campaign item for pay.
  • For brands working on handshakes with influencers, the development of SAG-AFTRA underscores the need for more formal arrangements. If you use influence waiver, the brand should notify the influencer at or before the engagement begins.

About Deborah Wilson

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