Engine celebrates 21 years of positive change with integrated campaign.

Engine Group first opened its doors on 15th September 1999. Back then we were based in Plumridge House in Fortitude Valley and though our location may have changed our approach to the job hasn’t. We still believe in the power of positive change. We still treat every brief as though it’s one human talking to another. And the first question we still ask ourselves is: How can we make things better for the person we’re talking to?

To mark the occasion of our 21st birthday, we created an integrated campaign that celebrates the unique service Engine offers its clients.

More of that later, but first…

What is an integrated campaign?

Put simply, an integrated campaign delivers a consistent and single-minded message to your audience via Above the Line (ATL) and Below the Line (BTL) media. It used to be called a Through the Line (TTL) campaign, but the advent of the internet and social media created a boom in new unpaid-for, non-linear media channels that hadn’t previously been available to advertisers and so the term integrated was coined.

Great, you’re thinking to yourself, but what on earth is this line everyone’s talking about and where is it drawn?

The terms Above the Line and Below the Line originated at Proctor & Gamble in the US back in 1954 and can broadly be categorised as:

ATL – messaging that has a very wide, largely untargeted, reach such as TV, cinema, radio, outdoor and some bought online media. It is traditionally used for building brand or product awareness.

BTL – messaging that is specifically targeted at individuals or businesses, usually either demographically or geographically, such as direct mail, point of sale materials, telemarketing, Google Adwords, emails, branded online content, owned social media and remarketing.

This is where you engage your audience in one-to-one conversations and build empathy and understanding. An integrated campaign is one that incorporates the best of both ATL and BTL to achieve maximum awareness and engagement.

How has social media changed ATL/BTL/TTL?

When the lines were drawn nearly seventy years ago, social media didn’t exist. Let’s be honest, it was barely in its infancy 21 years ago when Engine was born, so it’s fair to say its impact is still evolving.

Naturally advertisers tend to think of social media as being primarily a BTL tool as it can provide direct access to individuals on their own personal devices. But there is a bigger argument to be made.

Because of the wide variety of social media channels and the multi-platform capacity of the internet itself — it can support everything from live streaming video to high end film clips to podcasts to good old-fashioned pictures and text — it’s probably best to think of social media as being Between the Lines. It has the flexibility and reach to fulfil both ATL and BTL roles in your comms strategy, depending on the channels you choose, and to seamlessly connect and knit your messaging together.

Measuring success: What does a winning integrated campaign look like?

Judging the success of an ATL campaign is the least precise of the three options. Media companies will estimate the number of opportunities to see or hear, provide the number of times your ad has been displayed and count the number of people who experienced your ad for you, but the numbers won’t necessarily tell you how engaged the audience was.

BTL campaigns use conversion rates to deliver a more accurate gauge of how your message is performing. A printed code number on flyers, coupons and other direct mail response mechanisms makes it easier to track the number of people who get in touch, take up a particular offer or join your mailing list.

But if you really want to know how well you’re doing, down to the last decimal point, online is the only place to be. Click through rates (CTR), page opening rates, website visits, followers, subscribers and likes all deliver outstanding metrics that you can plot success against.

An integrated campaign will allow you to access all these different levels of reporting and statistics to help you refine your approach, but there’s something you can do before any results come in that will guarantee you a head start…

Make sure you’ve got something to say that people want to hear.

Yep, that old chestnut. When every man (or woman) and his dog is busy posting a hundred memes a day, it’s more important than ever to make sure your comms have relevance. Is this the right time for this message? Is this the right message to say?

In Engine’s case the answer to both questions is yes. We’ve got a real story to tell. Not about what we do, but about why we do it. And why we’re still doing it this way after 21 years.


Ad agencies are notoriously bad at self-promotion. The objectivity and clarity of thought we bring to our clients’ work goes out of the window when we’re faced with talking about ourselves. Which clients should we include? Which campaigns truly represent what we do? How much space should we allocate to all the awards we’ve won? (In Engine’s case, we’d need rather a lot.) And then of course there’s the added complication that most creatives would rather pull their own fingernails out than find the dreaded agency Christmas card brief in their inbox. But this was an opportunity to do something different, to think creatively about our creative thinking.



We created an integrated campaign that showcases what Engine does brilliantly – creative that connects emotionally with beautifully crafted art direction and copywriting.

Above the line

We reached out to a broader audience through a double page spread in AdNews and a full page ad in Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper. We told our story in a 60 second radio spot and through paid-for advertising online including branded content, MRECs, e-newsletter banners and boosted social.

Below the line

We exploded the idea out further through targeted eDMs, posts on all our social media channels and website. We designed a distinctive graphic lock-up and new email signatures for all our staff and we organised client ‘thank you’ lunches and gifts, including 21st birthday cakes and working from home treats. Trade media also amplified the message through a considered media relations push.

Between the lines

In addition, we created posters for our offices and meeting rooms that remind us why we love working here, rebranded the staircase that leads clients to our door and emblazoned it with the Engine manifesto. We gave ourselves the best birthday gift with a complete transformation of our showroom space and put together a short video to show ‘The Making of Engine 21 Campaign’. We even wrote this blog.


And yes, we had a staff party too, it’s our 21st for goodness sake!

Now that’s what you call a truly integrated campaign.

Is an integrated campaign right for your business?

The best way to find out is to come and talk to us. At Engine, we’re committed to the idea that creativity in thinking and execution leads to the most memorable and effective communications. We work hand in hand with our clients to explore possibilities, identify opportunities and develop strategies that will create positive change for their business, for their brand and for their future.

So, take a look at your current advertising and like the ad says, if you don’t like the headlines, rewrite them.

Or better yet, let us rewrite them for you.

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