Glossary/ Canadian Copywriter

Activating the Background

Usually this term is used in the art department. A Coke can is a perfect example. It has the Coke logo, then a series of squiqqly lines up and down the can. These lines give the background a jazzier look. Often this effect is used in "outer space" movies. For example a series of computer screens will have a lot of different designs -- nothing practical, but just enough to make the background busy and therefore more interesting to the eye.

Area of dominant influence (ADI)

A geographic designation that specifies which counties fall into a specific television market. See also, Designated Market Area.


Time periods immediately before and after a television program, normally used as a commercial break between programs.


A measure of readership averages for print publications over a two-year period, used as a baseline for comparing specific ads to an average.

Advance premium

A premium provided to a consumer, on the condition of some later purchase.

Advertising elasticity

The relationship between a change in advertising budget and the resulting change in product sales.

Advertising page exposure

A measure of the opportunity for readers to see a particular print advertisement, whether or not they actually look at the ad.

Advertising plan

An explicit outline of what goals an advertising campaign should achieve, how to accomplish those goals, and how to determine whether or not the campaign was successful in achieving those goals.

Advertising research

Research conducted to improve the efficacy of advertising. It may focus on a specific ad or campaign, or may be directed at a more general understanding of how advertising works or how consumers use the information in advertising. It can entail a variety of research approaches, including psychological, sociological, economic, and other perspectives.


An advertisement that has the appearance of a news article or editorial, in a print publication. See Infomercial, below.

Advocacy advertising

Advertising used to promote a position on a political, controversial or other social issue.

Affirmative disclosure

A disclosure of information in an advertisement, required by the Federal Trade Commission or other authority, that may not be desired by the advertiser. This information frequently admits to some limitation in the product or the offer made in the advertisement.

Aided recall

A research method frequently used to determine what consumers remember about an advertisement they have seen or heard.


An agency that provides a limited service, such as one that does creative work but does not provide media planning, research, etc. Usually, this refers to a relatively small company.

Brand development index (BDI)

A comparison of the percent of a brand's sales in a market to the percent of the national population in that same market.

Capitalized Billings

For a detailed explanation, see our agency selection page.

Channels of distribution

The routes used by a company to distribute its products, e.g., through wholesalers, retailers, mail order, etc.

Business-to-business advertising

Advertising directed to other businesses, rather than to consumers.


When an advertisement is surrounded by other ads, thereby forcing it to compete for the viewer's or listener's attention.

Combination rate

A special media pricing arrangement that involves purchasing space or time on more than one vehicle, in a package deal. This is frequently offered where different vehicles share a common owner.

Comparative advertising

An advertising appeal that consists of explicitly comparing one product brand to a competitive brand.

Competition-oriented pricing

A pricing strategy that is based upon what the competition does.

Competitive parity

A method of determining an advertising budget, designed to maintain the current "share of voice."


Usually used in media reports, this means Every Other Week -- usually referring to a commercial that is played with that frequency.

Chain break

A pause for station identification, and commercials, during a network telecast.

Controlled (qualified) circulation

Publications, generally business-oriented, that are delivered only to readers who have some special qualifications. Generally, publications are free to the qualified recipients.

Cooperative (Co-op) program

A system by which ad costs are divided between two or more parties. Usually, such programs are offered by manufacturers to their wholesalers or retailers, as a means of encouraging those parties to advertise the product.

Cooperative advertising

See above.


All spoken words or written text in an advertisement.

Copy platform

See Creative Strategy below.

Copy testing

Research to determine an ad's effectiveness, based on consumer responses to the ad.

Corporate advertising campaign

A campaign that promotes a corporation, rather than a product or service sold by that corporation.

Corrective advertising

Advertisements or messages within advertisements, that the Federal Trade Commission orders a company to run, for the purpose of correcting consumers' mistaken impressions created by prior advertising.

Cost efficiency

For a media schedule, refers to the relative balance of effectively meeting reach and frequency goals at the lowest price.

Cost per inquiry

The cost of getting one person to inquire about your product or service. This is a standard used in direct response advertising.

Cost per rating point (CPP)

The cost, per 1 percent of a specified audience, of buying advertising space in a given media vehicle.

Cost per thousand (CPM)

The cost, per 1000 people reached, of buying advertising space in a given media vehicle.

Counter advertising

Advertising that takes a position contrary to an advertising message that preceded it. Such advertising may be used to take an opposing position on a controversial topic, or to counter an impression that might be made by another party's advertising.


A measure of a media vehicle's reach, within a specific geographic area.

Creative strategy

An outline of what message should be conveyed, to whom, and with what tone. This provides the guiding principles for copywriters and art directors who are assigned to develop the advertisement. Within the context of that assignment, any ad that is then created should conform to that strategy. The written statement of creative strategy is sometimes called a "copy platform."


The art directors and copywriters in an ad agency.

Cumulative Audience

Originally coined by A. C. Neilson, this refers to the number of unduplicated people or homes in a broadcast program's audience within a specified time period. In slang, this is also called "cumes".


This refers to a process of establishing goals for an ad campaign such that it is possible to determine whether or not the goals have been met. It stands for Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results.

Day-after recall test

A research method that tests consumers' memories the day after they have seen an ad, to assess the ad's effectiveness.


Broadcast media divide the day into several standard time periods, each of which is called a "daypart." Cost of purchasing advertising time on a vehicle varies by the daypart selected.

Decay constant

An estimate of the decline in product sales if advertising were discontinued.

Deceptive advertising

FTC definition: A representation, omission, act or practice that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances. To be regulated, however, a deceptive claim must also be material. See Materiality, below.

Demographic segmentation

Dividing consumers into groups based on selected demographics, so that different groups can be treated differently. For example, two advertisements might be developed, one for adults and one for teenagers, because the two groups are expected to be attracted to different types of advertising appeal. See Demographics, below.


Basic objective descriptive classifications of consumers, such as their age, sex, income, education, size of household, ownership of home, etc. This does not include classification by subjective attitudes or opinions of consumers. See Psychographics, below.

Depth interview

A method of research, whereby a trained interviewer meets with consumers individually and asks a series of questions designed to detect attitudes and thoughts that might be missed when using other methods.

Designated market area (DMA)

A geographic designation, used by A.C. Nielsen, that specifies which counties fall into a specific television market. Also see Area of Dominant Influence.

Direct house

An advertising specialties company that manufactures and then sells its goods directly with its own sales force, rather than through retailers.

Direct mail

Marketing communications delivered directly to a prospective purchaser via the U.S. Postal Service or a private delivery company.

Direct marketing

Sending a promotional message directly to consumers, rather than via a mass medium. Includes methods such as Direct Mail and Telemarketing.

Direct premium

A premium provided to the consumer at the same time as the purchase.

Direct response

Promotions that permit or request consumers to directly respond to the advertiser, by mail, telephone, e-mail, or some other means of communication. Some practitioners use this as a synonym for Direct Marketing.

Directory advertising

Advertising that appears in a directory (telephone directory, tourism brochure, etc.). This frequently connotes advertising that consumers intentionally seek.

Display advertisement

(1) In print media, any advertisement other than a classified ad. (2) An ad that stands alone, such as window sign.


A company or person that distributes a manufacturer's goods to retailers. The terms "wholesaler" and "jobber" are sometimes used to describe distributors.


A product or advertising specialty given by a sales person to consumers to induce them to listen to a sales pitch.

Earned rate

A discounted media rate, based on volume or frequency of media placement.


The person who actually uses a product, whether or not they are the one who purchased the product.

Envelope stuffer

A direct mail advertisement included with another mailed message (such as a bill).

Equal time

A Federal Communications Commission requirement that when a broadcaster allows a political candidate broadcast a message, opposing candidates must be offered equal broadcast time.

Eighty-twenty rule

A rule-of-thumb that, for the typical product category, eighty percent of the products sold will be consumed by twenty percent of the customers.


Consumers who have seen (or heard) a media vehicle, whether or not they paid attention to it.

Eye tracking

A research method that determines what part of an advertisement consumers look at, by tracking the pattern of their eye movements.


Refers to the number of billboards used for an advertisement.

Factory pack

A premium attached to a product, in or on the packaging.

Fairness Doctrine

Until the mid-1980s, a Federal Communications Commission policy that required broadcasters to provide time for opposing viewpoints any time they broadcast an opinion supporting one side of a controversial issue.

Family brand

A brand name that is used for more than one product, i.e., a family of products.

Fixed-sum-per-unit method

A method of determining an advertising budget, which is based directly on the number of units sold.

Flat rate

A media rate that allows for no discounts.


A media schedule that involves more advertising at certain times and less advertising during other time periods.

Focus group interview

A research method that brings together a small group of consumers to discuss the product or advertising, under the guidance of a trained interviewer.

Four Ps

Stands for Product, Price, Place (i.e., distribution), and Promotion. This is also known as the Marketing Mix, see below.

Franchised position

An ad position in a periodic publication (e.g., back cover) to which an advertiser is given a permanent or long-term right of use.

Free-standing insert (FSI)

An advertisement or group of ads inserted - but not bound - in a print publication, on pages that contain only the ads and are separate from any editorial or entertainment matter.


(1) Number of times an average person or home is exposed to a media vehicle (or group of vehicles), within a given time period. (2) The position of a television or radio station's broadcast signal within the electromagnetic spectrum.

Fringe time

A time period directly preceding and directly following prime time, on television.

Fulfillment house

A coupon clearing house. A company that receives coupons and manages their accounting, verification and redemption.

Full position

An ad that is surrounded by reading matter in a newspaper, making it more likely consumers will read the ad. This is a highly desirable location for an ad.

Full-service agency

An agency that handles all aspects of the advertising process, including planning, design, production, and placement. Today, full-service generally suggests that the agency also handles other aspects of marketing communication, such as public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing.


An ad that is surrounded by reading matter in a newspaper, making it more likely consumers will read the ad. This is a highly desirable location for an ad. Double or triple-size pages, generally in magazines, that fold out into a large advertisement.

Gross impressions

Total number of unduplicated people or households represented by a given media schedule.

Gross Rating Points

This is a rating used by the media departments in advertising agencies. Rating points are achieved by multiplying reach times frequency. For example, if a message is heard or read by 3 people three times a day, the rating points are nine. In a week, the Gross Rating Points would be (9 x 7) 63 points.

Hierarchy-of-effects theory

A series of steps by which consumers receive and use information in reaching decisions about what actions they will take (e.g., whether or not to buy a product).

Holding power

The ability to keep an audience throughout a broadcast, rather than having them change channels. It is represented as a percent of the total audience.

Holdover audience

The percent of a program's audience that watched or listened to the immediately preceding program on the same station. Also called Inherited audience (see below).

Horizontal discount

A discount on a media purchase resulting from a promise to advertise over an extended period of time.

Horizontal publications

Business publications designed to appeal to people of similar interests or responsibilities in a variety of companies or industries.

Host/Hostess gift

A gift to a consumer who sponsors a sales demonstration party or meeting.

House agency

An advertising agency owned and operated by an advertiser, which handles the advertiser's account.

House organ

A publication owned and operated by an advertiser, and used to promote the advertiser's products or services.

Households using television (HUT)

The number of households in a given market watching television at a certain time. This term is used by A.C. Nielsen.

In-pack premium

A premium included in the packaging of another product (e.g., buy a can of shaving cream and get a free razor in the same package). The term Package Enclosure is also used.

Incentive catalog company

A company that creates an incentive program for sales people, and provides them with a catalog from which they can select their prize or premium.


A commercial that is very similar in appearance to a news program, talk show, or other non-advertising program content. The broadcast equivalent of an Advertorial (see above).

Insertion order

An agency or advertiser's authorization for a publisher to run a specific ad in a specific print publication on a certain date at a specified price.

Institutional advertising

Advertising to promote an institution or organization, rather than a product or service, in order to create public support and goodwill.

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)

A management concept that is designed to make all aspects of marketing communication (e.g., advertising, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing) work together as a unified force, rather than permitting each to work in isolation.

Intensive distribution

Distributing a product through a wide variety of outlets.

International advertising

Advertising a product or service in a country other than where it originates.

Island display

An in-store product display situated away from competing products, typically in the middle or at the end of an aisle.

Island position

A print ad that is completely surrounded by editorial material, or a broadcast ad surrounded by program content, with no adjoining advertisements to compete for audience attention.

Jumble display

A mixture of products or brands on a single display, such as a clearance table.


A premium used to induce a consumer to take some action, such as completing a survey or trying a product.


A premium left with prospective customers by a sales person, to remind them of the product or service being sold.

Lifestyle segmentation

Separating consumers into groups, based on their hobbies, interests, and other aspects of their lifestyles.


Refers to the size of an ad, based on the number of lines of type taken up by the ad.

List broker

An agent who sells lists of sales prospects.

Local advertising

(1) Advertising to a l ocal merchant or business as opposed to regional or national advertising. (2) Advertising placed at rates available to local merchants.

Local rate

An advertising rate charged to a local advertiser , typically a retailer, by local media and publications, as distinguished from a national rate that is charged to a national advertiser, typically a manufacturer.

Logotype (logo)

A brand name, publication title, or the like, presented in a special lettering style or typeface and used in the manner of a trademark.

Loss leader

A retail item advertised at an invitingly low price in order to attract customers for the purchase of other, more profitable merchandise.

Loyalty index

Frequency of listenership of a particular broadcast station.

Media buying service

Agency that specializes in the services of media buying.

Media concentration theory

Technique of scheduling media that involves buying space in one medium only and developing strength through concentration.

Media dominance theory

Technique of scheduling media that involves buying a large amount of space in one medium, and shifting to another medium after achieving optimum coverage and frequency.

Media plan

A plan designed to select the proper demographics for an advertising campaign through proper media selection.

Media strategy

A plan of action by an advertiser for bringing advertising messages to the attention of consumers through the use of appropriate media.

Medium (plural, Media)

A vehicle or group of vehicles used to convey information, news, entertainment, and advertising messages to an audience. These include television, cable television, magazines, radio, billboards, etc.

Merchandising the advertising

The promoting of a firm”s advertising abilities to distributors.

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

An urban area with a population of at least 50,000 that is designated by the Office of Management and Budget for statistical reporting purposes and used in audience measurement studies. This is generally synonymous with the former term Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The activities a firm practices in order to react controllably to external forces, e.g., setting objectives and selecting target markets.

Milline rate

Used to determine the cost effectiveness of advertising in a newspaper; reached by multiplying the cost per agate line by one million, then dividing by the circulation. Also referred to as Milline.

Motivation research

Used to investigate the psychological reasons why individuals buy specific types of merchandise, or why they respond to specific advertising appeals, to determine the base of brand choices and product preferences.


Using a broadcast medium to appeal to audiences with special interests. For example, the "All Knitting Station" would be a narrowcast, because it appeals to an audience with a specific interest.

National advertising

Advertising which is aimed at a National Market, as opposed to Local Advertising.

National brand

A nationally distributed product brand name. May also be distributed regionally or locally.

Near-pack (Near Pack Premium)

An item offered free or at a discount with the purchase of another product. The item can be positioned close to but may not touch the purchased product. A type of product promotion.


Developed film that contains an image that has reversed shadows and light areas.

Net cost

The costs associated with services rendered by an advertising agency excluding the agency commission.

Net unduplicated audience

The combined cumulative audience exposed to an advertisement.

Network option time

Programming time the network controls on each of its affiliate stations. Also referred to as network time.


A soft, course wood pulp paper used in printing newspapers.

Nielsen rating

A measurement of the percentage of U.S. television households tuned to a network program for a minute of its telecast.

Noncommercial advertising

Radio and television advertising that is designed to educate and promote ideas or institutions, e.g., public service announcements.


(1) A combination of programs or commercials offered by a network that is available for purchase by advertisers either singly or as a discounted package deal. (2) A merchandise enclosure or container.

Package enclosure

Same as In-pack premium, above.

Package insert

Separate advertising material included in merchandise packages that advertises goods or services; also referred to as Package Stuffer.

Painted bulletin

A freestanding steel or wooden structure, approximately 50' wide by 15' high, with molding around the outer edges similar to a poster panel, and including a hand painted copy message. Bulletins are generally found near highways or roofs of buildings in high traffic areas.


This includes regular and illuminated types of outdoor advertising. A regular panel is only seen during the daytime, while an illuminated panel is seen also from dusk until dawn. The process used by advertising to influence audience or prospect attitudes, especially purchase intent and product perception by appealing to reason or emotion.


An illustration showing the exterior of an object as if it were transparent, while revealing interior detailing.


A process of creating animation through the use of still photographs.


A set of still photographs made from a television commercial, accompanied with a script, to be kept as records by an agency or client.


A method of setting type by using negatives of the characters of film or photographic paper rather than metal type slugs, also referred to as Cold type.


(1) The process of making letterpress printing plates by photochemical means. (2) A picture printed from a plate made by this process.


A process which convert s original art material into printing plates that are required to print ads.


A type of high contrast photographic negative or positive in the form of paper. Also referred to as Stat.


(1) A unit of measurement for type specification and printing which measures width; 6 picas to one inch. (2) A size of type, 12 points.

Picture window

An ad layout in which the picture is placed at the top of the page, and the copy is placed below.

Pantone Matching System (PMS)

A system that precisely characterizes a color, so that a color can be matched, even by different printers. By knowing the Pantone color specifications, a printer does not even need to see a sample of the color in order to match it.

Parity products

Product categories where the several brands within that category possess functionally equivalent attributes, making one brand a satisfactory substitute for most other brands in that category.


Announcements made inside the context of a program as opposed to those shown during station breaks. (2) An announcement or amount of broadcasting time which is shared by several advertisers.

Pass-along readers

A reader which becomes familiar with a publication without the purchase of a publication. These readers are taken into account when calculating the total number of readers of a publication.


A camera-ready layout of illustrative and type material which is configured in the proper position on paperboard and is used for reproductive purposes.

Payout planning

Approach to advertising budgeting in which the dollars spent to advertise are represented as an investment toward sales and profits. Per inquiry An agreement between a media representative and an advertiser in which all advertising fees are paid based on a percentage of all money received from an advertiser's sales or inquires.

Percent-of-sales method

Method of determining the advertising budget based on an analysis of past sales, as well as a forecast for future sales.

Perceived risk

A functional or psychosocial risk a consumer feels he/she is taking when purchasing a product.

Personal selling

Sales made through a medium of face-to-face communication, personal correspondence, or personal telephone conversation, etc.


To add a name or other personal information about the recipient on direct mail advertising. Persons using television (PUT) A percentage of all persons in a certain viewing area that are viewing television during a specific amount of time. Used by A.C. Nielson. Persons viewing television (PVT) Same meaning as above, except this term is used by Arbitron.


A photographic image which appears as the original image, as opposed to a negative which reverses the black and white.

Progressive proofs (Progs)

Set of proofs made during the four-color printing process which shows each color plate separately and in combination. Also referred to as Color proofs.


(1) A direct mail offer that is included free with another offer. (2) Two commercials which are shown back-to-back by the same sponsor. Point (1) A small unit of measurement for type, equal to 1/72 of an inch. (2) A small unit for measuring the thickness of paper, equaling 0.001 inch.

Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays

Advertising display material located at the retail store, usually placed in an area where payment is made, such as a check-out counter.

Poster panel

An outdoor billboard in which advertising is displayed on printed paper sheets rather than being painted. The most widely used form of outdoor advertising; standard size approximately 25' x 12' with the image printed on sections of 24 to 30 sheets.


Testing the effects of an ad after it has appeared in the media.

Preemptible rate

A usually discounted rate for commercial time which is sold to an advertiser and is not guaranteed. Time may be sold to another advertiser who is willing to pay more; therefore, the advertiser buying this rate gambles to save money on the spot.

Preferred position

A position in a printed publication that is thought to attract most reader attention and is sold at a higher rate; for example, the back cover of a magazine.


An item, other than the product itself, which is offered free or at a nominal price as an incentive to purchase the advertised product or service.


A reproduction of an advertisement which is viewed before actual publication and is created by an advertiser for special purposes, e.g., to serve as retail displays or to gain support from retailers.


Testing an advertisement or an audience sample prior to placing the ad in the media.

Primary demand advertising

Advertising designed for the generic product category, as opposed to selective demand advertising.

Prime time

The broadcast periods viewed or listened to by the greatest number of persons and for which a station charges the most for air time. In television, the hours are usually 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. E.S.T. (7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. C.S.T.).

Private brand

Product brand owned by a retailer, wholesaler, dealer, or merchant, as opposed to a manufacturer or producer, and bearing it's own company name or another name it owns exclusively. Also referred to as Private label.


Barters of merchandise given as prizes on television or radio shows in return for mentions of the brand names of the merchandise donated.

Product differentiation

Developing unique product differences with the intent to influence demand.

Product life cycle

A marketing theory in which products or brands follow a sequence of stages including : introduction, growth, maturity, and sales decline.

Product management

Assigning specific products or brands to be managed by single managers within an advertising agency.

Product positioning

The consumer perception of a product or service as compared to it's competition.

Product-related segmentation

A method of identifying consumers by the amount of product usage, usually categorized demographically or psychographically.


Process of physically preparing the advertising idea into a print or broadcast advertisement.

Professional advertising

Advertising directed toward professionals such as doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, etc., who are in a position to promote products to their patients or customers.

Program delivery (rate)

Percentage of a sample group of people tuned in to a particular program at a particular time.


All forms of communication other than advertising that call attention to products and services by adding extra values toward the purchase. Includes temporary discounts, allowances, premium offers, coupons, contests, sweepstakes, etc.

Promotional mix

Using several different types of communication to support marketing goals which include Advertising (see above), Personal selling (see above), Publicity (see above), and Sales promotions (see below).

Promotional product

A product imprinted with, or otherwise carrying, a logo or promotional message. Also called an Advertising Specialty.


An impression on paper of type, an engraving or the like, for the purpose of checking the correctness and quality of the material to be printed.


A term that describes consumers or audience members on the basis of psychological characteristics initially determined by standardized tests.

Public relations (PR)

Communication with various sectors of the public to influence their attitudes and opinions in the interest of promoting a person, product, or idea.

Public relations advertising

Advertising by a corporation that focuses on public interest but maintains a relationship to the corporation's products or agencies.

Public service advertising (PSA)

Advertising with a central focus on public welfare, and is generally sponsored by a non-profit institution, civic group, religious organization, trade association, or political group.


A type of public relations in the form of a news item or story which conveys information about a product, service, or idea in the media.


A legal exaggeration of praise lavished on a product that stops just short of deception.


The use of advertising in regular intervals, as opposed to seasonal patterns.


A method of advertising research in which a study is conducted on the relationship between a viewer's pupil dilation and the interest factor of visual stimuli.

Psychological segmentation

The separation of consumers into psychological characteristic categories on the basis of standardized tests.

Qualitative research

A method of advertising research that emphasizes the quality of meaning in consumer perceptions and attitudes; for example, in-depth interviews and focus groups.

Quantitative research

A method of advertising research that emphasizes measurement of incidence of consumer trends within a population.

Random sample

A sample taken from any given population in which each person maintains equal chances of being selected.


(1) The amount charged by a communications medium to an advertiser based on per unit of space or time purchased. The rate may vary from national to local campaigns, or may be a fixed rate. (2) To estimate a particular media's audience size based on a research sample.

Rate card

Information cards, provided by both print and broadcast media, which contain information concerning advertising costs, mechanical requirements, issue dates, closing dates, cancellation dates, and circulation data, etc.

Rating point

(1) In television, one percentage of all TV households who are viewing a particular station at a given time. (2) In radio, one percentage of all listeners who are listening to a particular station at a given time. Both instances vary depending on time of day.


(1) The estimated number of individuals in the audience of a broadcast that is reached at least once during a specific period of time. (2) Also applies to Outdoor advertising audiences.


(1) The total number of readers of a publication (includes Primary and Pass-along readers). (2) The percentage of people that can recall a particular advertisement, aided or unaided.


(1) Formal acknowledgment given by a communications medium to an advertising agency to recognize that agency as being bona fide, competent, and ethical; therefore, entitled to discounts. (2) The ability of research subjects to recall a particular ad or campaign when they see or hear it.

Reference group

A group of people or organization of which an individual respects, identifies with, or aspires to join, e.g., membership or associative groups.

Referral premium

A premium offered to customers for helping sell a product or service to a friend or acquaintance.

Register marks

Indicator symbols located in the margins of negatives to be used as guides for perfect registration.

Remnant Space

Discounted magazine space which is sold to help fill regional editions of the publication.

Renewal rate

The percentage of individuals that renew their print media subscriptions to extend beyond the previous expiration date.

Rep or Representative

A person who solicits advertising space on behalf of a particular medium.


A sum paid to a performer on a TV or radio commercial each time it is run, and is usually established by AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) or SAG (Screen Actors Guild) contract.


Refers to the clarity of a television image as received by a set.

Restricted line

Sales items that are not legally sold in certain geographic areas, or only under special legal restrictions.

Retail advertising

Advertising which promotes local merchandisers' goods and services. Also referred to as Local Advertising.

Retail trading zone

Defined by the Audit Bureau of Circulation as the area beyond an urban area whose residents regularly trade with retail merchants within the urban area.


To alter photographs, artwork, or film to emphasize or introduce desired features and also to eliminate unwanted ones.


A very rough rendition of a proposed commercial, composed of images and sounds borrowed (ripped-off) from other commercials or broadcast materials.

Road block

A method of scheduling broadcast commercials to obtain maximum reach by simultaneously showing the identical advertisement on several different stations.

Sales promotion

Marketing activities that stimulate consumer purchasing and dealer effectiveness through a combination of personal selling, advertising, and all supplementary selling activities.

Sales-response function

Refers to the effect of advertising on sales.


(1) A printing process in which a squeegee forces paint or ink through a screen which is decorated with stenciled designs onto the paper. (2) The surface onto which an image of a slide or television picture is shown.


The variation in sales for goods and services throughout the year, depending on the season, e.g. hot chocolate is advertised more in the winter, as opposed to summer months.

Seasonal rating adjustments

In broadcast media, rating modifications that reflect changes in the season, e.g. weather and holidays.

Selective demand advertising

Advertising which promotes a particular manufacturer's brand as opposed to a generic product. See Primary demand.

Selective distribution

Allows manufacturers to maintain more control over the way their products are sold and discourages price competition among sellers of the products by distributing their products only to those wholesalers and retailers who follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

Self-liquidating premium

A premium offer paid by the consumer whose total cost including handling fees are paid for in the basic sales transaction.


A direct-mail piece in which no envelope or wrapper is required for mailing.


A premium offer that is partially paid by the consumer as well as the manufacturer.


Refers to theories regarding symbolism and how people glean meaning from words, sounds, and pictures. Sometimes used in researching names for various products and services.

Serif type

Short, decorative cross lines or tails at the ends of main strokes in some typefaces, such as Roman lettering.

Sets in use (SIU)

The percent of television sets that are tuned into a particular broadcast during a specific amount of time.


The percent of audiences that are tuned into a particular medium at a given time, e.g. the number of people watching television between the hours of 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Share-of-voice (SOV)

Shelf screamers (shelf talkers) A printed advertising message which is hung over the edge of a retail store shelf, e.g. "On Special," or "Sale item." Signature (1) A musical theme associated with a television program, radio show, or a particular product or service. Also referred to as a Theme song. (2) Single printing sheet which folds into 4, 8, 12, 16, and so on pages to be gathered and bound to form a part of a book, or pamphlet.

Saturating the Market

This is a term used in the media department. It means when a buyer has bought just about every conceivable time slot available in the market.


This is becoming an increasingly more important "buzzword" in today's retail sector. Department stores, of course, live and die by their daily sales -- and they want to ensure their shelves are neatly layed out for the most effective merchandising. "Shelf-ology" is the science of arranging products within the store and on the shelves for the best merchandising -- according to traffic flow, impulse buying, best sight lines, categories of products, etcetera.

Staggered schedule

A schedule of advertisements in a number of periodicals which have different insertion dates.

Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS)

A commercial firm that publishes reference volumes that include up-to-date information on rates, requirements, closing dates, and other information necessary for ad placement in the media.

Starch scores

A result of a method used by Daniel Starch and staff in their studies of advertising readership which include noted, or the percent of readers who viewed the tested ad, associated, or the percent of readers who associated the ad with the advertiser, and read-most, or the percent of readers who read half or more of the copy.

Starch Readership Service

A research organization (Starch INRA Hooper) that provides an advertisement's rank in issue and Starch scores.


A single image printed repeatedly in a pattern on a single sheet of paper.


A bonus provided by a manufacturer for promoting its products. Usually, the retail chain benefits from this bonus but in some cases it's given directly to salespeople.

Strategic planning

Determination of the steps required to reach an objective of achieving the optimum fit between the organization and the marketplace.

Stratified selection

An equally measured statistical sample which represents all the categories into which the population has been divided.

Subliminal persuasion

An advertising message presented below the threshold of consciousness. A visual or auditory message that is allegedly perceived psychologically, but not consciously. Also called Subception.

Supplementary media

Non-mass media vehicles that are used to promote products, e.g., Point-of-purchase advertising.


Companies that sell goods or services to an advertising agency for their use in constructing advertisements, e.g., design studios, color houses, printers, and paper producers.


Refers to a time during the months of November, March, and May, when both Nielson and Arbitron survey all local market broadcast media for the purpose of rating the stations and their programming.

Syndicated program

A television or radio program that is distributed in more than one market by an organization other than a network.


Shelf keeping units. Basically this means the number of items on a shelf. For example, if there's a space for three boxes of Kellog's Corn Flakes and there are three boxes of Kellog's Corn Flakes on the shelf, then there are three shelf keeping units.


A size of newspaper that is roughly half the size of a standard newspaper. A page size is normally 14" high by 12" wide.

Tachistoscope testing

A method used in advertising and packaging recall tests. Used to measure a viewer's recognition and perception of various elements within an ad by using the different lighting and exposure techniques of a Tachistoscope - a device that projects an image at a fraction of a second.

Tag line

A slogan or phrase that visually conveys the most important product attribute or benefit that the advertiser wishes to convey. Generally, a theme to a campaign.

Target audience

A specified audience or demographic group for which an advertising message is designed

Target market

A group of individuals whom collectively, are intended recipients of an advertiser's message.

Tear sheets

A page cut from a magaz ine or newspaper that is sent to the advertiser as proof of the ad insertion. Also used to check color reproduction of advertisements.

Teaser campaign

An advertising campaign aimed at arousing interest and curiosity for a product.


The use of the telephone as a medium to sell, promote, or solicit goods and services.

Theater testing

A method used in testing the viewer responses of a large, randomly selected audience after being exposed to an ad.


A rough, simple, often small sketch used to show the basic layout of an ad.

Time compression

A technique used in broadcast production to delete time from television commercials.

Tracking studies

A type of research study that follows the same group of subjects over an extended period of time.

Trade advertising

Advertising designed to increase sales specifically for retailers and wholesalers.

Trade character

People, characters, and animals that are used in advertising and are identified with the products, e.g. Jolly Green Giant and Tony the Tiger.

Trade name

The name under which a company operates.

Trade stimulants

Sales promotions directed toward retailers and distributors that are designed to motivate them both and increase sales.


Icon, symbol, or brand name used to identify a specific manufacturer, product, or service.

Traffic builder

A promotional tactic using direct mail. Designed to draw consumers to the mailer's location.

Transit advertising

The advertising that's posted in public transit areas or on the vehicles i.e. bus shelter signs, subway posters.


The rate of audience change for a specific program during a specific amount of time.

Unaided recall

A research method in which a respondent is given no assistance in answering questions regarding a specific advertisement.

Unfair advertising

Advertising that is likely to harm the consumer. The FTC has the power to regulate unfair advertising that falls within a very specific legal definition.

Unique selling proposition

The unique product benefit that the competition can not claim.

Up-front buys

The purchasing of both broadcast and print early in the buying season.

Values and lifestyles (VALS) research

A research method which psychologically groups consumers based on certain characteristics such as their values, lifestyles, and demographics.


A specific channel or publication for carrying the advertising message to a target audience. For example, one medium would be magazines, while one vehicle would be Time magazine.

Vertical discount

A reduced rate offered to advertisers who purchase airtime on a broadcast medium for a limited amount of time, e.g., one week.

Vertical publications

Publications whose editorial content deals with the interests of a specific industry, e.g., National Petroleum Magazine and Retail Baking Today.


(1) An illustration that has soft edges, often produced by using cutouts or masks. (2) A photograph or halftone in which the edges, or parts of, are shaded off to a very light gray.

Voice-pitch analysis (VOPAN)

An advertising research technique of analyzing a subject's voice during their responses, to test their feelings and attitudes about an ad.

Voiceover (VO)

The technique of using the voice of an unseen speaker during film, slides, or other voice material.


The value a consumer receives from a product's design.

Waste circulation

(1) Advertising in an area where the product or service is not available or has no sales potential. (2) Persons in an advertiser's audience who are not potential consumers.

Wave scheduling

An advertising strategy that consists of scheduling space in the media in intermittent periods, e.g., two weeks on, two weeks off.

Wear out

The point reached when an advertising campaign loses it's effectiveness due to repeated overplay of ads.


(1) An adjustment made in a survey sample to correct for demographic or geographic imbalances. (2) Number of exposures of an advertisement.

White space

Unoccupied parts of a print advertisement, including between blocks of type, illustrations, headlines, etc.


A transition of scenes in a visual production where one image appears to wipe the previous one from the screen.

Word painting

A technique used in the radio broadcast industry that uses highly descriptive words to evoke images in reading material as an attempt to place the listener into the scene.

Accordian insert

An ad inserted in a magazine, folded with an accordian-style fold.


Transparent plastic sheet frequently used for overlays in ad layouts.

Agate line

A measure of newspaper advertising space, one column wide and 1/14th inch deep.

Answer print

The final edited version (print) of a television commercial, for approval by the client. It may still need color correction, etc.

Aqueous coating

A smooth water-based coating that protects the printed surface.

Ben Day process

A shading or dot pattern on a drawing.


Printed image which extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page.


It's called that because it's blue. This is a prepress photographic proof of the final printed product. This is your last chance to make changes. Also called brownline, silverprint, Dylux®.


Standard size newspaper.


A promotion that is printed on a single large sheet of paper, usually on only one side of the paper, as opposed to a tabloid or other off-size newspaper.

Bulldog edition

An edition of a print publication that is available earlier than other editions. Usually, this is the early edition of a large circulation newspaper.


This is the tiny little dot placed before important points in the text.

Buried position

Placing an ad between other ads in a print publication, so that readers are less likely to see it.

Blow-in card

An advertisement, subscription request, or other printed card "blown" into a print publication rather than bound into it.


A blue line drawn on a mechanical to indicate where a page will be cut.

Camera-ready Art

All the pieces of the final printed product -- the photos, the type, etc., -- are pasted down on a board and ready to be photographed. This photograph will be used to reproduce the printed material.


A color photographic transparency.

Collateral materials

Sales brochures, catalogs, spec sheets, etc., generally delivered to consumers (or dealers) by a sales person rather than by mass media. These materials are considered "collateral" to the sales message delivered by the sales person.


A type of premium that consumers may desire to have as a part of a greater collection of similar goods.

Cold type

Refers to most modern typesetting methods, such as phototypesetting, because they do not involve pouring hot molten metal into molds for different type fonts.

Color proof

An early full-color pri nt of a finished advertisement, used to evaluate the ad's final appearance.

Color separation

A full-color ad normally is generated through printing of four separate colors: yellow, cyan, magenta, and black. The color separation consists of four separate screens; one for each of those four colors.

Column inch

A common unit of measure by newspapers, whereby ad space is purchased by the width, in columns, and the depth, in inches. For example, an ad that is three standard columns wide and 5 inches tall (or deep) would be 15 column inches.

Color separations

When an ad or brochure is ready to be printed, it's separated into four distinct layers -- usually laminates -- which are placed on top of each other. The four colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black.


To eliminate or cut off specific portions of a photograph or illustration.

Crop marks

Marks to indicate which portions a photograph or illustration are to be used, and which are to be eliminated.

Dye cut

Usually a curved cut in board.

Comprehensive layout

A rough layout of an ad designed for presentation only, but so detailed as to appear very much like the finished ad will look.

Continuous tone art

Where a photograph or other art depicts smooth gradations from one level of gray to another. This is a cut, usually a patterned cut which requires a dye.

Double truck A two-page spread in a print publication, where the ad runs across the middle gutter.


A copy (e.g., xerographic duplicate) of an ad, or even blank sheets of paper, provided to a printer or artist as an example of the size, color, or other aspect of the ad to be produced.

Duplicated audience

That portion of an audience that is reached by more than one media vehicle.


A unit of type measurement, based on the "M" character.

Flier, flyer

A single sheet of material usually printed front and back for descriptive (advertising) purposes.


A given typeface in a particular point size. One point=1/72".

Font, display

A type face that is better suited for captions, headlines, chapter headings and the like.

Font, sans-serif

An unornamented font such as Helvetica, Optima, Arial. Any type style that does not have cross-strokes on the ends of the letters.

Font, text

A type face that is well-suited for the body text of a book or magazine. Generally these should not be a sans-serif face. Several that are appropriate are Times (and its numerous related variations), Palatino, Bookman, Century Schoolbook (and its variations), Goudy, Galliard, Bembo.

Four-color process

A printing process that combines differing amounts of each of four colors (red, yellow, blue & black) to provide a full-color print.


A copy of a brochure or an ad layout. These are the final, final pre-production pieces before going to print


A method of reproducing a black and white photograph or illustration, by representing various shades of gray as a series of black and white dots.

Hot composition

A method of typesetting that uses molten metal to form the letters for a typeface. See Cold type, above.


An advertisement, collection of advertisements, or other promotional matter published by an advertiser or group of advertisers, to be inserted in a magazine or newspaper. It may be bound into the publication, or be inserted without binding. See Free-standing insert, above.


Refers to an ad in a print publication.


A form of printing that results in a raised or engraved print surface.

Justified text

Text with a smooth edge on the left hand side.


Spacing between the letters of a word.


The intermediate stage between typesetter and printer. Printed text and graphics are placed on page forms, ready for printing. Formerly, the typesetter prepared copy sections of printed copy and illustrations‹printed in long strips that were then cut and pasted in place on boards that were photographed (photo-offset) for printing production. Desktop page layout programs have essentially eliminated this stage.

Laser Printing

A photo transfer method of printing.


The space between lines of type.


A method of printing where the wrong-reading raised surface of a printing plate is inked and impressed directly onto the paper. There are four types of letterpress presses: platen, flatbed cylinder, rotary and belt.

Line conversion

A high-contrast reproduction of an illustration, where all shading is reduced to either black or white.


A printing method in which the printing and non-printing areas exist on the same plane, as opposed to a bi-leveled reproduction.


A type of marketing in which a company adapts itself to uncontrollable factors within the industry.

Mail-in premium

A premium obtained by mailing in a suitable response to the manufacturer or distributor, with or without money.

Mail-order advertising

Advertising which supplies paperwork for the purpose of soliciting a purchase made through the mail.

Make good

(1) To present a commercial announcement after it ”s scheduled time because of an error. (2) To rerun a commercial announcement because of technical difficulties the previous time it was run. (3) To rerun a print advertisement due to similar circumstances.

Marginal analysis

Technique of setting the advertising budget by assuming the point at which an additional dollar spent on advertising equals additional profit.

Market profile

A summary of the characteristics of a market, including information of typical purchasers and competitors, and often general information on the economy and retailing patterns of an area.

Market segmentation

To divide a market by a strategy directed at gaining a major portion of sales to a subgroup in a category, rather than a more limited share of purchases by all category users.

Market share

The percentage of a product category's sales, in terms of dollars or units, obtained by a brand, line, or company.

Marketing firm

A business that affects the distribution and sales of goods and services from producer to consumer; including products or service development, pricing, packaging, advertising, merchandising, and distribution.

Marketing mix

The levels and interplay of the elements of a product's or service's marketing efforts, including product features, pricing, packaging, advertising, merchandising, distribution, and marketing budget; especially as these elements affect sales results.

Marketing research

The systematic gathering, recording, analyzing, and use of data relating to the transfer and sale of goods and services from producer to consumer.


The process of setting up and adjusting a printing press for a particular ink, paper and set of printing conditions prior to a press run. Also, the paper used during these adjustments.


The blank space around the image area of a page, also referred to as a gutter. Also is the term for the difference between costs and income; obviously a wide margin is also hoped for there.

Matte finish

A non-glossy finish.

Matte shot

A camera shot made with a matte or mask in part of the frame to allow another shot to be printed in the opaque area.

Mechanical (paste-up)

A finished layout that is photographed for offset printing

O & O station

Radio and television stations owned and operated by a network.

Off card

Refers to advertising time sold at a rate that does not appear on the rate card.

On-air tests

Tests recall among viewers of a commercial or program during a real broadcast of the tested communication.

On-pack (On-pack Premium)

Used to promote sales of a product. Discount coupons or gifts that are attached to or accompany the product to be purchased.

Open end

(1) Time left at the end of a commercial or program which is provided for the use of local advertising or station identification. (2) A radio or television program with no specific time to end.


Visual effects used to instill interest as well as portray mood and continuity to a commercial. Dissolves, Cross fades, and Montages are all opticals.

Out-of-home advertising

Exposure to advertising and mass media away from one's home. Included are outdoor, point-of-purchase, and radio.

Outdoor advertising

Any outdoor sign that publicly promotes a product or service, such as billboards, movie kiosks, etc.


A transparent or opaque covering used to protect designs or layouts in the form of separate transparent prints that combine to form a finished design or graphic.


Additional numbers of a print vehicle that are produced in excess of those needed for distribution. Overruns may take place to meet unexpected needs or demands.

Offset lithography

A planographic printing process. A photographic image from a printing plate is transferred to a rubber blanket, which, in turn, transfers or prints the image onto the paper.

Offset printing

Usually refers to offset lithography. The image prints by transferring ink from a flat plate or cylinder to a rubber blanket that deposits the ink onto the substrate instead of directly from plate to paper.

Onion Skin

An onion skin is a very light paper that is usually inserted right after the front cover of a brochure. The other side of the onion skin is just before the back cover. It gives a brochure a look of class.


Characteristic of paper or other substrate that prevents print on one side from showing through to the other side. Also characteristic of ink that prevents the substrate from showing through.


Copies printed and/or bound in excess of the specified quantity. A 10% margin in either direction is not uncommon.


Portable Document Format. A format for use on the World Wide Web. The file retains page layout, color, graphics, and typography of the original document and can be viewed on-screen or printed using either viewer, Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Exchange.


uses xerography technology, a dry process that uses electrostatics.


Unit of measure commonly used in typesetting and design. A pica is one-sixth of an inch.


Pantone Matching System; one of several color-matching systems devised to insure consistency and agreement on color between original artwork and printed reproduction.


Unit of measurement commonly used to specify type sizes. There are 12 points in a pica and 72 points in an inch.


Camera work, color separating, stripping, platemaking and other functions performed by the printer, separator or service bureau prior to the actual printing. The prepress work is some of what goes into the makeready work of the printer.

Press check

When a customer is at the printing press as the press begins to print his or her job, in order to approve the job as it is printed. A press check can last a few minutes or several days, depending on the size of the job.

Press release

An announcement normally sent to the press -- which details an upcoming event or service. See Press Release on the Public Relations page of the Merry Muse.

Quick Printing

uses a small cylinder press and plates created using a photo-electrostatic process which resuls in a raised image that takes the ink and imprints it directly on paper.

Print run

Number of copies to be printed ordered. Ragged (unjustified). Type that is not justified on the right or left side.


In printing, the correct positioning of one color over another during the printing process.


A magazine supplement th at is printed by a gravure process, and run on a rotary press. This process is useful for large runs of pictorial effects.


The process of using live and animated characters within an advertisement.


An unfinished layout of an ad which shows only a general conception to be presented for analysis, criticism, and approval.

Rough cut

A preliminary arrangement of film or tape shots that are roughly edited together without voice-over or music to serve purpose in the early stages of editing.

Run-of-press (ROP)

A newspaper publisher's option to place an ad anywhere in the publication that they choose, as opposed to Preferred position. Also referred to as Run-of paper.

Sans-serif type

A typestyle of lettering with no serifs, or cross strokes at the end of main strokes.

Silk screening

A color printing method in which ink is forced through a stencil placed over a screen that blocks out areas of an image, and onto the printing surface. Also referred to as Serigraphy.


A high-quality proof of an advertisement printed on glossy paper which is suited for reproduction.


A proof made of the negative film to ensure that all elements are accurate and in correct position before the plate is made. A variant process for the bluelines used in press proofing

Slotting allowances

Fees paid by a manufacturer to a retailer for the retailer's shelf space.

Soft sell

The technique of using low pressure appeals in advertisements and commercials.

Specialty advertising

This is the older term used for Promotional products (see above). It remains a commonly used term by many companies.

Speculative (spec) sample

A sample promotional product, with the prospective buyer's imprint on it, produced with the hope that the customer will purchase it.

Split run

Two or more different forms of an advertisement which are ran simultaneously in different copies of the same publication, used to test the effectiveness of one advertisement over another to appeal to regional or other specific markets.

Spot announcements

Commercial or public service announcements that are placed on television or radio programs.

Spot color

The technique of coloring for emphasis some areas of basic black-and-white advertisements, usually with a single color.

Spot television (or radio

Time slots in geographic broadcast areas, purchased on a market-to-market basis rather than through a network.

Specification sheet

The instructions for the type font and size for text, captions, headings, etc., and placement of captions and illustrations given to the typesetter.


This is a slang expression often heard when paper manufacturers are talking about the flexibility and thickness of their paper. In other words, when the paper is "snapped" it bounces back at a certain rate. This "snap" is an easy way for an expert paper producer to determine the thickness.


Refers to a pair of facing pages in a periodical, or an advertisement which is printed across two such pages.


A Latin term meaning "let it stand," which instructs a printer or typesetter to ignore an alteration called for in a proof.


A blueprint for a TV commercial which is drawn to portray copy, dialogue, and action, with caption notes regarding filming, audio components, and script.


Positioning film negatives or positives of copy and illustrations for the purpose of creating a printing plate for that ad or page. Also referred to as image assembly.

Style sheet

This is very similar to "Corporate Guidelines", except in a "micro-sense". Style sheets are usually used in desktop publishing to specify the typestyles, position of photography, Pantone colors, types of logos used, etcetera in a publication.

Swatch proof

A sample of the material for a promotional product, with the customer's artwork printed on it in the specified colors.

UV coating

Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.


A positive, color photographic image on clear film.

Transparent ink

Ink used in four color printing process that allows for colors underneath the ink to show through.


To combine different layers of colors in order to create various colors in the four color printing process.

Trim size

A size of a magazine or newspaper page after trimming.

Type font

Refers to the complete alphabet for a specific typeface.


A designed alphabet with consistent characteristics and attributes.


The designated setting of type for printing purposes.


A type of paper used for its superior reproduction qualities.


A varnish is a coating that is used to give a gloss to a paper. It imparts a look of class and distinction.