Several agencies, including Young & Rubicam, Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann-Erickson, are teaming up to urge advertisers to keep ad production work in the US, and in New York in particular.

Commercial production has been drifting overseas for some time. Last year’s strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists encouraged several advertisers to move their lucrative production work abroad, to locations such as Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or Europe. Many, finding cheaper costs abroad, have not returned.

Unlike American actors, those overseas are not paid residual fees every time an ad is shown. In addition, production charges in the US have been climbing – according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the average cost of making an ad in the US jumped 16% between 1998 and 1999.

The coalition is encouraging production bosses to make filming in New York more attractive. It already seems to be having an effect – Colgate-Palmolive has switched the venue for its latest ad from Canada to New York. Indeed, ad activity in the city has returned to “pre-strike levels”, with 35 commercials currently being shot, according to Patricia Reed Scott, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.

However, in an economic slowdown, some observers are doubtful whether patriotism will win out over cost. “When push comes to shove I don't know if clients will go for it,” said Stephanie Apt, managing director of production firm Final Cuts. “At the end of the day it’s the bottom line and how that impacts revenue.”

News source: Wall Street Journal