What about the Line?

August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

In marketing there are lots of fancy words. ATL (above the line) and BTL (below the line) are some of the more used terms to define marketing activities.

The line, defines an implicit difference between massive and targeted (size), between waste and impact, it really changes from one company to the other, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s not a line between Advertising and Promotion.

Above the line (ATL)

It’s understood as “mass media”. In my opinion it’s not Advertising (as you may do a “mass media” promotion). Mass media advertising carries along the way a lot of waste as much of the audience reached aren’t the brand’s target.

ATL activities also have the tendency of being “one-way” speeches (not conversations) with the target, because you’re delivering a message for the consumer to hear.

Below the line (BTL)

This term is not as well-defined as ATL, for some its “sale promotions”, for other “direct marketing”, but almost all agree that it’s not “massive”.

BTL activities look for a more impactful way to reach the audience such as one-to-one activities, “two-way conversations” via digital, or very targeted small-reach stunts. Here I show some examples caught on video:


If you have enough budget, do both… learn from pepsi:

ATL ad that was aired over TV, and Internet, asking for people (BTL) to go online and post an idea

If not sufficient budget, ask yourself

what is more important, volume or quality?

If Volume… go ATL

If Quality… go BTL


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