Above the Line Marketing makes way for Social and Digital Wave
3rd May, 2013
For a long time brands have revolved their marketing campaigns around ‘Above the Line’ (ATL) strategies, which consisted of utilising all types of broadcasted mass media.
Although the reach of ATL marketing is undoubtedly wide-ranging and a great platform for unique concepts, the economic downturn and the rise of digital technology has forced companies to think more ‘Below the Line’ in regards to their goals for a profitable future.
One of the primary reasons why ATL campaigns have not had as drastic a growth in recent years is due to the extraordinary budgets that are required to ensure cut through. Citi Bank’s ‘Live Richly’ campaign is a campaign that spanned over 5 years and cost over $1 billion dollars. The campaign reached people through their inner desire to enjoy life and the concept was very catchy, but this is simply not a sustainable method of engagement for many SME’s in this economic climate. For many, splashing out on mass media campaigns is not feasible anymore due to a recession-scarred business community. There is simply too much risk involved considering that the ROI for marketing departments is under such scrutiny.
Less money, less problems
Companies are desperately attempting to reach consumers on a more personal and frequent basis, which is why they are choosing to engage with people on social media platforms as well as mobile proximity marketing. Television ads and mass media may seem all encompassing, but they lack the specific ability to personalise its audience relationship the same tailored way social media does.
With large scale campaigns of this size, further risk exists with the inability to quickly adapt to change in culture or need. A perfect example of this is the launch of Diet Pepsi’s ‘tall, skinny can’ in 2011, which scheduled its debut around their sponsorship of New York Fashion Week long before the actual date. However Pepsi were unable to adapt their pricey campaign to the ongoing outrage regarding size zero models and its affect on young women. The campaign simply could not adapt quick enough, which highlights a great advantage of online media.
For many brands ATL methods will always have a place in the marketing mix, but in this current climate, brands are getting more bang for their buck by turning to digital campaigns and social media engagement. ATL mass media campaigns are a luxury in this economic slump, but for companies who want to flex their creative muscle, they are still a viable option. However brands must prioritise sustainable business methods and realise that digital and mobile technology is the future, whether it be social media, viral Internet movements, product placements or guerrilla advertising. Brands that fail to adapt will be quickly left behind.