What is an 'AAAA Spot Contract'

An AAAA spot contract is a standardized contract created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies for the purchase of T.V. or radio spots. The AAAA spot contract is generally between the advertising agency that represents the client and the television or radio station. The contract spells out all relevant details of the purchase, such as the number of commercial spots and the duration of the advertising campaign, the date and time of airing the spots and the cost to the advertiser.


An AAAA spot contract is more likely to be used when the advertiser is buying spots in individual markets as opposed to buying spots on all the stations affiliated with a network in a large geographical region. While purchasing spots in individual markets is time-consuming, it is likely to be more targeted than buying spots on a network. Moreover, the standardized features of an AAAA spot contract make it easier for the parties involved to process them quickly.

AAAA Spot Contract Types

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) provides a variety of contact templates for a various advertising mediums. These include:

  • Internet Advertising Standard Terms and Conditions
  • Local Audio Confirmation/Contract (see example)
  • Local Television Confirmation/Contract
  • Magazine Contract and Insertion Order
  • Newspaper Contract/Space Order/Cancellation or Change
  • Outdoor Bulletin Display Contract
  • Outdoor Poster Display Contract
  • Place-Based Media Contract
  • Transit Advertising Contract

These contract templates include fields for spot terms. For example, the local television confirmation/contract features fields for day, time (range), commercial length, effective date, spots per week, total number of spots, cost per spot and total cost. The place-based media contract includes fields for venue (i.e., airport, college campus, convenience stores, sporting arenas, cinemas/theaters, etc.), format (electric or non-electric), market location and venue description, number and size of display, number and length of spots, cycles or flight dates and more.

AAAA Spot Contract Conditions

Each spot contract contains a list of conditions and disclosures, which may include:

  • Payment and billing: Includes sums, terms and payment method.
  • Termination: Provides terms and conditions for terminations.
  • Effect of breach: Provides for the right to terminate contract in case of a breach of terms.
  • Failure to telecast: Provides for alternatives and remedies if a broadcaster is unable to air a spot.
  • Substitution of programs: Allows the broadcaster to use its discretion on whether to air a spot; also provides substitution rules.
  • Program and commercial material: Sets the responsibilities of the advertiser, agency and broadcaster.
  • Broadcast liabilities: Stipulates that the station will hold and save the agency and advertiser harmless against all liability from broadcast.
  • Streaming of advertising: Prohibits the station from broadcasting a spot on the internet or via streaming without agency permission.
  • General conditions and disclosures: Addresses licensing, expectations of care when handling agency or advertiser property, and rules governing transfer of rights listed in the contract. 
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