BTL and ATL advertising

BTL and ATL are two terms used in advertising and marketing to refer to promotional activities for products and services.

BTL refers to promotional actions that target a specific consumer group of a brand or product.

ATL are advertising actions with mass reach objectives, so they are aimed at the general population.

The difference between BTL and ATL has to do with the public to whom the actions are directed, but they are essentially complementary concepts, since in most cases they are carried out as part of a comprehensive promotion strategy.

DefinitionAdvertising-type actions aimed at a segment of the public.Advertising-type actions aimed at a mass audience.
MeaningBellow the line (below the line).Above the line .
ScopeSegmented audience.Mass audience.
ExamplesActivations at points of sale.

Segmented email marketing actions .

Television commercials.

Advertising spaces in public places.

  • Segmentation.
  • Control of the strategy.
  • Strategy customization.
  • Greater reach.
  • Greater remembrance.
  • Better appreciation of the product.

What is BTL advertising?

BTL is an acronym for the Anglicism Bellow The Line (below the line) that is used in advertising to describe promotional actions that are directed to a specific audience.

For the BTL strategy to be successful, it is necessary to know the target audience very well. In that sense, the fact that BTL marketing are specific activities for a particular segment implies greater research and analysis of consumer data for said product or service.

The term BTL emerged in the United States in 1954, when an executive of the Procter and Gamble company created a promotion plan for mass media at the time, such as radio and television. When he finished his plan, he drew a line on the sheet to separate those actions from smaller ones, to which another budget would go.

Those specific promotional activities were “ below the line ”, below the line, which would later be simplified to BTL.

BTL examples

These are some types of BTL marketing actions that are currently running:

Incentives for frequency of consumption or use.

It is a strategy in which the consumer or user is offered something extra (an incentive) when they complete a certain number of purchases. This is a very popular action in fast food establishments, which usually offer a free coffee or dessert after a certain number of consumptions on the premises.

Gifts and plans for frequent fliers are another example of this type of BTL.

Demonstration at the point of sale

This is a classic BTL marketing action. It consists of giving samples of the product or demonstrating how it works in a sales area (supermarket, commercial premises, etc.).

An example can be the traditional samples of food or drinks in the supermarket, which are characterized by the presence of representatives of the brand.

Advantages of BTL

A well-executed BTL promotional action plan can have many advantages for the brand or product to be promoted, such as:

Better segmentation

As the strategy is aimed at a specific audience, not only a much more direct action is guaranteed, but a higher probability of conversion (sales) is guaranteed.

Greater control over strategy

Together with the previous point, by having a more segmented audience it is possible to measure the results with greater accuracy and even make strategic changes on the fly according to the response obtained.

Customizable actions

BTL activities can be tailored to the interests and needs of the target audience. This makes the actions or experiences much more personalized.

What is ATL advertising?

ATL is an acronym for the Anglicism Above The Line , which translates as “above the line, and refers to the promotional actions that are carried out on a large scale in the mass media, namely:

  • TV.
  • Radio.
  • Printed media.
  • Who.
  • Public spaces.

By using traditional media to disseminate promotional actions, a massive reach is ensured, however, the strategy is not directed at a particular audience.

ATL Examples

These are some traditional ATL promotion actions:

Advertising space

Television, radio, and print media commercials are the classic example of ATL actions. In the case of the first two, time slots (seconds or minutes) are purchased to transmit an advertising message.

For its part, in the case of printed media (newspapers and magazines), spaces are purchased in centimeters or in formats (full page, half page, quarter page, etc.).

Advertising spaces can also be displayed on public roads, as long as they have been


The sweepstakes, raffles, or massive contests that make the brands of the products are another example of ATL actions, and usually are supported by the traditional media.

An example is when the prize drawing takes place on a popular television show.

Advantages of ATL

A brand or company that carries out an advertising strategy with ATL actions can benefit in several ways:

Build brand identity

The use of mass media helps a new brand to become known in the market, but it also helps brands or companies already positioned to stay in the mind of the consumer.

Greater chance of being remembered

A commercial that airs several times a day makes it much easier for consumers to have the brand present.

Better appreciation of the product

The nature of the mass media allows the characteristics of the product to be better known. The advertising spaces are used to show illustrative images of the products and explain their characteristics in a more detailed way.

Greater reach

As ATL’s strategies are aimed at a mass audience, the possibility of reaching new market segments increases.

See also:

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *