Below-the-line work shouldn’t be ignored

I read with interest David Reed’s article “The Ideas Factory” (MW May 12). Unfortunately, above-the-line marketing is still largely considered to be the “sexy” side of the industry, while below-the-line activity such as direct mail, direct-response TV, door-drops and inserts can be dismissed to the creativity sidelines, even though they drive the metrics and form the bulk of campaign activity.

However, there is no need for below-the-line marketing to precisely replicate above-the-line creative work, as long as the work keeps in line with the general brand strategy. The two disciplines perform different functions. Successful integrated creative work embraces the brand positioning, while delivering it in an execution appropriate for the channel.

FCBi London’s work with Goldfish is a good example. The brand launch TV ad used Billy Connolly to promote the values as accessible and quirky. Direct activity used the same values, but didn’t put Connolly in an envelope – it used goldfish imagery focusing on everyday objects in the home to deliver new customers.

Brands need an integrated approach that delivers accountable brand potency at every stage – whether it comes from above the line or below.

Carolyn Stebbings

Managing director

FCBi London

London WC1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here