Creating Lasting Impressions

Promotional Products as an effective “Below the Line” marketing tool.

Below the line v Above the Line
In advertising there are a variety of techniques called Above the Line (ATL), Below the Line (BTL) and sometimes, Through the line (TTL).

Above the line is mass media. It is a one-to-many communication. TV,  Newspapers, Radio, Direct Mail etc are prime examples. This works when the target group is large and hard to define. Typical examples are telco brands, airlines, softdrinks etc. It’s a “shotgun” approach.

Below the line uses tactics which suggest immediate contact with, or feedback from the customer. Direct mail is one such method, as are ‘in person’ methods such as sampling within supermarkets, promotional product giveaways, email. It is designed to appear as one-to-one marketing, although is often done in a scaled up version so it targeting many people. It is more discriminating in who it targets. Hopefully it is a “sniper” approach to marketing.

Differences include:

  • – BTL often has a strong call to action
  • – BTL is often directed at the individual person
  • – ATL goes to everyone, with possibly no measurement of who has been contacted (for example, think about radio – there’s no way to tell who is actually listening at that time).
  • – The message for ATL is often generic – it is about brand qualities – rather than focusing on a strong offer – call to action.
  • – BTL has better mechanisms for testing and measuring engagement.


Through the line is a blend of the medium of ATL with the message of BTL. Examples include outdoor media such as bus shelter signs, but with strong calls to action. It is more of a hybrid than a category of its own.

Promotional products fit into the Below the Line category for a variety of reasons:

  • – Given to individuals one-on-one.
  • – Often associated with a specific action (gift with purchase, entry into a competition, in exchange for name details at a trade show)
  • – Given to a known target market

We’re biased of course, but we feel that a well chosen promotional product also adds longevity, which no other form of advertising does.

In advertising, the ad will work often due to the copy being ‘clever’. With promotional products, we think that they work due to clever choice, and we endeavour to help our clients make the best choices of their items so they have the maximum impact.