AICP Guidelines and Best Practices

In 1978 the AICP undertook the task of developing guidelines to be used to foster responsible business practices between production companies and their contracting-clients.

Version 8 - Last Updated 04/30/21

If you have any questions regarding AICP Guidelines, please contact Denise Gilmartin, Vice President, Business Affairs at

The AICP Digital Guidelines specifically address issues fundamental to digital production (i.e. interactive media, visual effects, design, animation, and other forms of digitally produced content), and create a roadmap for the establishment and understanding of good business practices.  Through continued use of these guidelines and explanation of their rationale, producers, agencies and advertisers, will be able to help create understanding and fair industry standards.  Issues covered in these guidelines include: payment terms, creative contributions, intellectual property, schedules, as well as many other production issues.

AICP National Guidelines - Digital

AICP Best Practices - Digital

In 1978 The AICP undertook the task of developing guidelines to be used to foster responsible business practices between production companies and their contracting-clients for projects utilizing live action production. Since that time these guidelines have been recognized as the industry standard.

AICP National Guidelines - Live Action

Memo: AICP Guidelines Update - 4/22/20

Memo: Revised AICP Guidelines - 11/27/06

Regulations and legal requirements surrounding workplace harassment are evolving daily as issues and incidences have gained more prominence in recent months. As such, the expectations to put measures in place to avoid occurrences in all business environments are evolving very quickly as both social acceptance and legal obligations are redefined. The AICP is committed to providing the most up to date tools and information to aid its member companies in crafting sound policies and procedures for all aspects of an efficiently-run business.   

As with many things, common sense prevails. No employee – whether on staff or freelance – should ever feel as if they are in a workplace where discrimination and/or harassment is tolerated by employers. AICP - working with attorneys Jaclyn Ruocco and Jennifer Schmalz, of  the Labor and Employment practice group at the law firm of Kane Kessler, AICP’s General Counsel – has crafted a comprehensive memo as a primer to define workplace harassment and discrimination, and what steps employers should take in order to create a safe workplace.  A key component of an anti-harassment policy is providing proper training that complies with various state regulations and laws.  Regardless of what is required by law, a strong foundation can be developed if all companies ensure that supervisors they employ have received training in addressing harassment and discrimination complaints.
To find out more about training resources, you should discuss with your payroll service provider; many have great insight into state to state compliance and training resources.  For example, CSATF (Contract Services Administration Trust Fund) provides training in California to members working under a collective bargaining agreement and will also provide training to signatory companies for staff and other employees as well. For companies interested in more information, please contact: Jeremy McDowell at

AICP will continue to monitor state and local laws and policies regarding harassment and discrimination and will keep the membership apprised of developments. If you have any questions or need further information on this issue, please contact Kristin Wilcha at

Please click here to view the guidelines

NYC Commission on Human Rights Publishes Employer Poster and Information Sheet on Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act

Please click here to view handouts from the AICP East Town Hall on Human Resources

Please click here to view handouts from the AICP West Town Hall on Human Resources 

AICP provides its members and the industry with resources and guidelines to promote good business practices, which provide the best possible environment for creativity and ingenuity.

The AICP and its membership are actively committed to working across the advertising and marketing ecosystem to making the industry at all levels more inclusive and diverse. Change will happen by providing access and opportunity to under-represented groups. Many AICP members, marketers, agencies and others have stated goals and commitments to increase representation across the board, which is a significant step. AICP and its members are working to create tools and resources that will help various entities meet their goals and honor commitments to change.

Committees of members created by AICP have already collaborated with many agencies and marketers through a series of roundtable discussions to find out how we can partner to strive for a more representative industry. We used these sessions to solicit candid feedback from dozens of agencies on the problems and practices that inhibit our overall commitment to diversity.  Those discussions created the foundation of this process.

Under the auspices of its Equity and Inclusion Committee, the AICP has created the following Best Practices Guidelines as we all work to change the demographics of our industry to reflect the overall population.  As we work to create more opportunities for people of color across all aspects of the creative process, and allow for new perspectives and approaches that will be to the benefit of all, these are essential guideposts for all involved in production and post-production.  It is our hope that these Best Practices will be a constant reference and ‘gut-check’ of sorts as we all work to achieve goals for diversity, inclusion, and equity across our industry.

The Best Practices found below are evolving and will be updated. If you have any questions or input, please contact

AICP Equity & Inclusion: Best Practices for Engagement

The following guidelines should be utilized when using third party trademarks in a spec spot. The use of such guidelines will minimize the risk that the owner of the third party trademarks will complain about the practice. Use of these guidelines is not a guarantee that the third party trademark owner will not complain or that the complaints will not ultimately be found to have a legal basis. AICP suggests that you consult knowledgeable intellectual property attorneys before using any pre-existing intellectual property in a spec spot.

AICP Guidelines - Using Third Party Trademarks in a Spec Spot

Production companies are engaged by marketers and their agencies for the express purpose of applying their artistry, unique skills and specialised talent to produce a commercial that fully realises the potential of the creative idea to and enhance and breathe life into marketing concepts. Production companies are driven and committed to consistently find new and innovate ways to improve the creative product, find efficient solutions and keep the talent pool available in the advertising industry fresh and strong.

In order to keep focused on these core areas of expertise, business issues should be as standardised and predictable as possible. The following points outline basic principles of contracting a production company to produce a commercial. The topics discussed ensure that advertisers and agencies receive the highest quality product possible, and that production companies are treated fairly in the execution of each project.

Complete Pinciples Document