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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Above the Line (ATL) Defined

What is Above the Line (ATL)?

Above the Line (ATL) marketing refers to advertising that uses mass media channels such as television, radio, newspapers, and billboards to promote a brand or product.

The Basics of Above the Line (ATL)

It is a form of marketing that is more traditional and usually requires a significant budget to execute.

Examples of ATL

So how does Above the Line (ATL) work in practice? Let's look at a couple of examples:

Example 1: Superbowl Commercials

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched television events in the United States, with millions of viewers tuning in each year.

As a result, brands often create commercials specifically for the Super Bowl and spend millions of dollars to air them during the game.
These commercials are an example of Above the Line marketing because they use television as the primary medium to promote a brand or product.

Example 2: Magazine Advertising

Another example of Above the Line marketing is magazine advertising. Brands will often place ads in popular magazines that are read by a broad audience to promote their products.

A car manufacturer may place an ad in a car magazine to reach a wide audience of potential buyers.
A luxury watch maker may place an advert in a newspaper to reach a wide audience of potential buyers - based the newspapers readership demographic e.g. Rolex advert in Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times.

Above the Line (ATL): The Final Word

While Above the Line marketing can be effective, it is also costly and may not be accessible to small businesses or those with limited marketing budgets. Additionally, the effectiveness of Above the Line marketing can be difficult to measure compared to other forms of marketing such as digital marketing - for example, how does Rolex know that the buyer saw their advert in the Wall Street Journal?

For more Marketing Models & Strategy lingo please visit our dedicated Marketing Glossary section.

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