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Marketing 101: Promotions
Categories: Marketing 101

Above the line (ATL), below the line (BTL), and through the Line (TTL), in organizational business and marketing communications, are different ways companies try and sell their products.

In a nutshell, while ATL communications use media that are broadcast and published to mass audiences, BTL communications use media that are more niche focused. Both ATL and BTL communications can be used to either build brand awareness or drive sales through specific offers (promotions), it is BTL communication, however, that gives the marketer the ability to tailor their messaging in a more personal manner to the audience. ATL promotions are also difficult to measure well, while BTL promotions are highly measurable, giving marketers valuable insights into their return-on-investment. These insights can then be used to inform the next BTL communication to the audience and tailor the messaging based on the feedback received.

ATL is a type of advertising through media such as television, cinema, radio, print, and Out-of-home to promote brands or convey a specific offer. This type of communication is conventional in its nature and is considered impersonal to customers. It differs from BTL advertising, which uses unconventional brand-building and promotional strategies, such as direct mail, sales promotions, flyers, point-of-sale, telemarketing and printed media ( for example brochures, and usually involves no motion graphics). It is much more effective than when the target group is very large and difficult to define.

The various ATL activities carried out to promote Star Wars were:

TV spot


Radio Spot

Posters: Like the ones seen here and here.


  • Bubble gum trading cards: aimed at increasing visibility, especially amongst kids.
  • Burger King tie-up: One of Burger King’s first major cross-promotional successes was in 1977 when they offered several collectibles including posters, glasses and sticker sets that featured scenes and characters from Star Wars. The promotion was wildly successful, and the glasses are highly sought after to this day. The relationship with George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, LTD. continued through the other two films in the first Star Wars trilogy and continued through the final film and the DVD release of both trilogies.

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