In today’s world, it is pretty impossible not to know the essence of advertising, especially when you’ve got the responsibility of a company on your shoulders.
So, today we’ll start by exploring the different media used in advertising to disseminate messages that companies want the public to grasp.
Different Modes of Advertising
There are a vast number of options on how a company can get its message across to its market and they can be categorized as follows:
• Above the line
• Below the line
• Through the line
Above the Line Advertising (ATL):
Above the line advertising is a technique used to communicate to the mass, thus the term mass media. When a client wants to reach the population at large for a nationwide campaign, the agency must go for ATL channels. If you take Toblerone, for example, it is a very famous chocolate brand appreciated by people all around the world, irrespective of age group. Suppose if Toblerone has added new flavors in its product line. To make the population aware of it, they will use a combination of billboards placed in various regions, newspapers (all the newspapers with highest readerships, of course) and magazine adverts. They will also use and radio channels to spread their message. The list of ATL modes are:
• Outdoor (Billboards, buses, bus shelters, waste bins, posters, signs)
Now, let’s examine some benefits and drawbacks of these modes.
- With newspapers, you have a potentially large coverage area. Newspapers are published on a daily basis. One can also choose to advertise in different newspapers to cover maximum potential consumers.
- Flexibility – you can choose the size of the ad you want to publish thus, you control your budget.
- Access to many socio-economic groups
- Visibility of the product – that is, through pictures
- The print quality of newspapers isn’t always the best, especially for photographs.
- Short shelf life. Right a day after a newspaper is published, it becomes history.
- A universal medium. It can be enjoyed at home, at work, and while driving.
- Multiple exposures. The audience gets to hear the advert several times. The bigger your budget, the more times you can air your ad.
- Possible high entertainment value of the ad. Can be creative with sound effects or well-written script.
- Listeners will never be able to refer back to your ads to go over important points.
- Radio is claimed to be a mere background medium meaning that most listeners are doing something else while listening.
- Members of the audience often switch to other channels when ads are aired.
- Allows you to reach great numbers of people on a national or regional level.
- Uses both visual and auditory stimulants.
- Can lead to high creative and production costs.
- Most ads are ten or thirty seconds long, which limits the amount of information you can communicate.
Below the Line (BTL):
On the other hand, Below the line strategy concerns promotional activities where the business has direct control over the target or intended audience.
Let me propose another example. Suppose company A is a new company that sells boats, from the entry-level inflatable models to high end fully equipped spacious speed boats. This type of product is not meant for the general population since the price range might be exceeding what an average individual can afford.
For such a product, an advertising agency would advise to communicate essentially to the targeted audience by designing and printing catalogs, brochures, send direct mailings to selected targets and in specific regions such as those living in the north to the west coast. Budget wise it makes more sense and the message is more relevant to the niche market. There are many methods of below the line advertising, including:
• Sales promotions
• Direct marketing (Brochures, newsletters, flyers, direct mail)
• In store promotion (banners, display stand in supermarkets)
• Personal selling
If you want to learn more about through the line and online advertising techniques, stay tuned for part 2.