Lingo for Dummies: Above The Line V Below The Line Advertising

Mon 05 Jun

For those of you not in the communications industry, these two terms may sound like two boxing terms to classify a safe hit. But these are actual terms used in advertising strategy to determine how the marketer can get its message to the ears of its target market.

So let’s break it down…


Above The Line (ATL)

This is when you want to flood the market with your message in a very one-way form of communication, using mass media. Here we are talking about all of your traditional forms of media including radio, television, newspaper outlets and reputable online mediums. You would probably use this type of advertising for a new brand to reach a large audience of people.


Below The Line (BTL)

This form of advertising is a lot more one-on-one and promotes the institution of two-way communication. Some examples of BTL advertising could be email campaigns, samples, brochures, telemarketing and even focus groups. Because of its personal nature, BTL has a much greater Return-On-Investment (ROI) for clients.


Today, most clients opt to invest in Through The Line advertising campaigns that combine elements of ATL and BTL strategies to gain a greater ROI overall.