Traditionally, most advertising campaigns are segmented into above the line (ATL) and below the line (BTL) advertising. But what does this mean? And why are marketing campaigns done in a way that targets these two categories in particular? And how do you know when you have this mix just right? It’s an ongoing discussion in the advertising world and the old cliché of ‘never putting your eggs in one basket’ certainly does ring true with above and below the line advertising.
Above-the-line vs Below-the-line advertising
So, what’s the difference?
Above and below the line forms of marketing are not new. They’ve both been around quite a while and continue to be important in our modern age of advertising. Since the dawn of marketing and advertising both concepts have been used depending on the audience that is being targeted. It’s important to note that both forms of advertising have their own unique benefits and advantages.
Generally, above and below the line advertising fall into two categories, as shown below:
- Above the line advertising – ATL is used when the focus is on mass media promotion to reach a large audience. ATL includes media such as radio, TV, print media such as newspaper and magazines, and billboards.
- Below the line advertising – In contrast to ATL, below the line advertising is directed to reach a small, targeted audience. BTL includes marketing activities such as brochures, direct mail, flyers, sponsorships and email campaigns.
Above the line advertising benefits
Above the line advertising has many benefits as it is designed to reach a larger audience and boost brand awareness. However this form of marketing does carry a costly price tag and is generally reserved for the larger corporate organisations.
Here are a few main benefits of above the line advertising:
- Brand awareness – ATL is best for boosting brand awareness on a very large scale and has an impressive impact on brand recognition by consumers. It’s virtually impossible to build a very well-known brand without this form of advertising campaign.
- Attention grabbing – With a combination of audio and visual which is used in above the line advertising the attention-grabbing quality is boosted to levels not reached with other forms of advertising. This is because audio and visual demand attention from the consumer.
- Reach – No other form of advertising is as effective in reaching a large audience than ATL advertising. Brands that use above the line advertising are almost always guaranteed great returns on investment.