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Above the Line Advertising Explained in Detail With Examples

Above the Line Advertising Explained with Examples
Above the line advertising promotes products using media like television, radio channels, and the like. This MarketingWit write-up explains above the line advertising with examples.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does." ― Steuart Henderson Britt
Advertising is a very crucial part of a business. No layman would be willing to buy a product if it is not properly advertised. There are different ways in which this can be done, primarily though, the techniques depend on various other factors, like target audience, type of product, niche specifics, location, distribution channel, etc. Below the line and above the line advertising are two important forms of advertising that are widely used in the current scenario. The explanation as well as the pros and cons of above the line advertising have been elaborated in the paragraphs to follow.
An Overview
  • Above the line (ATL) advertising is a technique that involves promoting products through tele-media and related resources.
  • In fact, a majority of the advertising that is undertaken as of today is above the line advertising.
  • Online advertising has increased by leaps and bounds, and it aims at a widespread audience.
  • In fact, this is the basic principle that this technique is built upon - to reach out to a mass audience. That is why we make use of 'mass' media.
  • Companies can choose any kind of technique they wish to, depending on their products.
  • While traditional advertising methods can also be used in this technique, it mainly focuses on broad spectrum media.
  • When it is adopted by agencies, it proves to be highly beneficial, since they charge a sales commission.
The different types of above the line advertising are enlisted below:
Flat TV
  • According to a 2014 news survey, an average American spends almost 5 hours of the day watching television.
  • The television is the most vital source of advertising. There are possibly less number of channels to endorse all the ads.
  • Companies go all the way out to hire advertising agencies and shoot commercials, presenting their product in the most innovative way, and showing it off like it's the best that there is (irrespective of whether it is useful or not).
  • Small ventures buy television time too, and advertise themselves as much as possible, because it is one of the sure-shot ways of catching attention.
  • Imagine yourself lying on the couch, bored with the regular sitcoms you have been watching, and suddenly an ad pops up, demonstrating the latest addition in your favorite clothing store. Now that is certainly going to make you sit up and take notice, isn't it? This is what advertisers cash in on.
  • Again, the success of the campaign depends on how effectively the message comes through. Nothing should be overdone.
  • You need to demonstrate the proper use of your product through the commercial.
Old radio
  • Using radio channels may sound like an old-fashioned marketing gimmick, but believe me, it is still one of the most effective promotional techniques.
  • As of the end of 2014, the total number of licensed radio stations in the United stations were more than 15,000. Besides, there were more than 6000 FM Translators and Boosters and more than 900 low-power FMs.
  • The layman may or may not listen to the radio as much as he watches television, but it does have a contribution - people listen to the radio while they go for an evening walk, while traveling, etc. Buying radio time helps advertise products, events, sales, etc.
  • Radio channels have a fixed slot for music and advertisements. While you may assume that people have no patience to listen to the latter, you can be sure that they hear at least a part of the ad. This is why advertisers need to concentrate on creating effective slogans and tag lines.
  • Another vital point - there are radio stations in every town and city. You have to select the correct radio station to reach out to your target audience.
3.Print Media
Closeup stacked newspapers with smartphone on wooden table
  • Print media has been a powerhouse of marketing for a very long time. This includes newspapers, magazines, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, etc.
  • Print media can be considered a part of below the line advertising as well.
  • Newspapers and magazines help your product reach the target audience.
  • Remember that there are innumerable newspapers and magazines - you have to understand your audience and then advertise your product. For example, a fashion magazine is more commonly purchased by the fashion fraternity and teenage girls. Hence, advertising clothes and cosmetics in this magazine would be more prudent than advertising novels.
  • Newspapers too, vary as per towns and states. If you intend to advertise your store, which is in the heart of New York city, you need to publish the news in a newspaper that exclusively reports city news. Publishing the same in a bigger paper may or may not fetch you the desired results, since you do not know how many people in New York read that particular paper.
WWW with Earth Globe and Computer Mouse
  • It is the magic wand of the 21st century, the path that leads to success, provided it is used properly.
  • The internet is a behemoth of advertisements, it is where prospective buyers look for newer products.
  • Right from pay-per-click ads to shopping sites, you can brandish the web like a sword, display your products on social networking sites, blogs, etc.
  • You must have found several ads on the left or right side of your web page while you surf the internet.
  • This is a very useful medium of advertising, since it reaches out to a very huge population.
  • Ads can be placed on various web platforms by means of hyperlinks.
  • Whether your venture is big or small, the internet is an effective, commercial way of advertising.
Photo of a nighttime city scene, and a blank white billboard
  • Erecting billboards is a well-known strategy of above the line advertising.
  • Billboards and banners display your product is a subtle, yet effective way.
  • You would have found several billboards across the country on byways and highways.
  • Again, this strategy reaches out to a 'mixed-bag' kind of audience - after all, plenty of people travel everyday, anyone can throw a casual look at the billboard.
  • Huge companies and brands are practically known to everyone, but a smaller venture has to design the billboards very effectively so as to entice the customer.
It is very advantageous for businesses that require a global audience acceptance; the technique reaches out to so many people and keeps spreading due to word-of-mouth, which is very good for the company.

Viral marketing trends capture the essence of the campaign very quickly, thereby generating favorable reviews.

Billboards build up branding awareness.

There is no limited exposure with regards to print media. Irrespective of whichever newspaper you place your ad in, it will be there always. For all you know, if you place an effective advertisement, people might look forward to buying that particular newspaper to find out about your product.

Magazine ads allow for better targeting.
It is unfavorable for businesses and products that target a particular niche.

Negative news spreads as fast as, or perhaps, faster than positive news. Therefore viral marketing may prove to be harmful at times.

The rate at which the product gets publicized may be considerably slow.

Print media may have lesser flexibility to place ads. Costs are also an important factor to be considered. Above the line advertising costs more.

Small ventures may find it difficult to use social media, since it takes a long time for building a relationship with the customer, generate traffic, and win over the customer's trust in the product.
Pleasant man using tablet
Some above the line advertising examples are given below:

A computer company advertises its new software on its official website and social media. A hardware product may be advertised online as well. Advertising videos can be posted on the web.

An upscale multiplex may promote itself via newspapers and pamphlets. It may also be advertised online and on the television.
Shopping for Christmas
New real estate ventures are often promoted via radio stations and television ads.

A mobile company may launch a new version of its product through a dynamic advertisement on TV or an effective slogan on the billboards. This slogan can be the official jingle of the product as well.
Cookware companies frequently advertise their products on television - this includes food processors, coffee makers, microwave ovens, etc.

Advertising small business ventures, like bakery shops, coffee shops, event planning, etc., use the internet as well as the local newspapers and radio stations as platforms for promotions.
Boutiques, car showrooms, cosmetic companies, hair salons, etc., often use magazines to promote their products.

Billboards are very effective for products of a high brand value. These may include shoes, clothes, accessories, and electronics.
Baby care products, babysitting businesses, day care centers, etc., are best promoted via magazines and television ads.

Drugs and other pharmaceutical products are also very effectively promoted via television. They can also be advertised via regional and national magazines.
Advertising is very important to catapult a business to greater heights. Above the line advertising is a very effective technique when implemented the right way. Advertisers need to ensure that this phase is carefully executed so that the brand image and reputation of the product remains intact.
Banner design
Real Estate Ad
Fashion magazine cover
Magazine cover template about beauty, fashion and health for women