Career Guide 2007: A guide to the jargon

Know your TVR from your B2B? We thought not. So read this before that coveted interview...

Above the line

A term that originated in the book-keeping departments of advertising agencies to describe advertising aimed at the public that is hard to escape, especially TV and radio spots, print ads and posters. The "line" is used to distinguish between mass media that pay Commission to agencies and those that do not. See also Below the line.

Account management

Staff in an advertising agency with overall responsibility for satisfying clients' needs and maintaining strong relationships with clients. They act as the link between the client and the agency's planning, finance, media and creative departments.

Account planning

An agency department that makes sure an understanding of consumer attitudes and reaction is brought to bear at every stage of advertising development. Planners use market research data to guide the process of devising advertising.

Ambient media

Non-traditional objects or sites that carry advertising messages - petrol pump nozzles, taxis, bins, lamp-posts, ticket stubs, shop floors and even eggs have been used in this way.

Below the line

Advertising that uses controlled delivery techniques such as point of sale in shops or direct mail sent to people at home or work. Spending on this type of advertising is growing faster than on Above the line.


B2B for short. Advertising directed at corporate decision-makers and professionals rather than consumers.


A series of communications based on a consistent strategy and creative idea. Also the leading industry magazine (and publisher of this guide).


Advertising, usually in black and white and found at the back of a publication, that is concerned with offering jobs, holidays, houses and so on. The business has been moving on to the internet, representing a threat to newspaper publishers, which have retaliated by launching their own websites.

Client conflict

When an advertising agency has more than one client in a sector it is called a conflict, inviting suspicions about confidentiality and loyalty (in other industries, it is called a specialism).


The part of an agency's income that is calculated as a proportion of the amount of money the agency pays to place its ads in the public domain. Commission still accounts for much of a typical agency's income, with fee-based payment increasingly popular (and fairer because it is based on the time agencies spend on a job).


Advertising agency term for customer, the person they want their ads to reach.


The words - headlines, text - in an advertisement. Used to differentiate from pictures or graphics.

Creative team

The combination of an art director and a copywriter - the backbone of the creative department for agencies. The two often move as a unit from agency to agency, till death do them part.


Short for British Design & Art Direction. A professional body for advertising and design creative specialists, which runs the most prestigious UK annual awards for creative excellence.

Focus group

Or simply a group - a panel of five to ten people who are asked questions in a relaxed environment about an advertiser and its competitors.


Short for Institute of Practioners in Advertising, the professional organisation for UK agencies.


Short for Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, a professional body representing UK advertisers.

Media auditor

A company that advises advertisers how to improve the planning and buying efficiency of the communications they pay for.

Media owner

Broadly, a company that offers something that can carry an advertising message. Specifically, a company that sells advertising space or time - publishers, television and radio stations etc.

Media strategy

Describes how an advertising campaign is to be delivered to the target audience, including when, through which media, for how long and at what price. Media planners devise the strategy and media buyers place orders for advertising space or time.


A collection of ad or media agencies linked by common ownership (as in Ogilvy & Mather, owned by WPP Group) or by common goals (many medium-sized independent agencies have formed informal alliances in this way).

New media

A huge topic, of course. New media is digital; it is also interactive. It is a catch-all term for advertising afforded by the wonders of new technology: the internet, interactive TV etc.


A meeting at which an ad agency presents its advertising ideas to a client in a bid to win or retain a piece of business.

Qualitative research

Market research tool that aims to get a feel for a market rather than to accumulate data that can be quantified mathematically.

Quantitative research

Surveys with samples large enough to provide statistically valid data.


A collection of agencies working for a single client. To achieve roster status with big clients is an achievement for an agency, confirming it is in the client's inner circle of advisers.


Television rating, a unit of TV audience measurement. A single TVR equals 1 per cent of the total audience in any given TV region.


Using the TV remote control to flick across channels during an ad break or fast-forwarding through a break when viewing a programme recorded on video or personal video recorder.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content