above the line
A loose term that refers to mass advertising on TV, in print, and out of home.
In the earliest days of advertising, a distinction was made between conventional, mass-audience advertising and more direct, promotional marketing. Proctor & Gamble paid their suppliers differently for each type of service, and so there was literally a line on their budget. Above the line was mass advertising; below the line was direct promotion.
The terms stuck and became industry standards, and to this day “above the line” generally refers to advertising on TV, in print, and out of home, while “below the line” refers to direct, digital, and sales promotion.
Category: Marketing Also known as: ATL See also: