The Advantage of Advertorials

100 FSS advertorials add to the bottom line
Milmark Award Winner

Installation: 100th FSS, RAF Mildenhall
Category: Sponsorship Experiential Marketing
Year: 2023

Campaign Summary

By identifying a groundbreaking sponsorship opportunity, and working with USAF HQ, the 100FSS Marketing created both a lucrative and unique resource for sponsors and readers alike.

Relevance to Category (Sponsorship Experiential)

By presenting the opportunity for the advertiser/sponsor to ‘speak’ directly to the consumer – not just promote a product – they were able to build a relationship with the reader and offer advice and suggestions that were of benefit and established trust in their brand.

Campaign Overview/Objectives

This submission details 100 FSS Marketing’s introduction of a unique form of advertising to the USAF, advertorials, and sets the process by which we introduced them. Advertorials are paid advertisements in the form of a sponsored article and used by mainstream outlets like the Economist and New York Times. The introduction of advertorials is the first time they have been used in the USAF*.

We ran the first advertorial in the January 2023 issue of 100 FSS Marketing’s monthly base-wide magazine, the Get Up and Go. The initial launch was the culmination of a process of customer consultation, our own research, and ensuring that advertorials meet USAF standards by securing the agreement of Air Force Services and Judicial Affairs.

At heart, the introduction of advertorials is based on our sales philosophy: to give our customers – businesses looking to advertise and sponsor events/programs at RAF Mildenhall – products that suit them; that we tailor our products to what they want to do. As such the genesis of advertorials was through a conversation with a prospective advertiser, the Apex Arts Centre, a cultural establishment in Suffolk, who asked whether they could write an advertorial in the monthly Get Up and Go magazine.

We had four measurable objectives in considering advertorials:

  1. Do advertorials increase engagement with advertisers for our Commercial Sponsorship and Advertising program?
  2. Could advertorials add to the standard of the Get Up and Go?
  3. Do advertorials fit with 100 FSS’s brand of creating new and innovative content?
  4. Can advertorials represent a new medium that can be applied not just at RAF Mildenhall but across the US Air Force, and conceivably across the other services of the military.
  5. Cost free
    • AF Services informed us they had no evidence advertorials used before in the USAF.

100th FSS Marketing Team

Sandy Mackall, Marketing Director

Bruce Richardson, Visual Information Specialist

Brittany Doran, Visual Information Specialist

Hugh Canavan, Sponsorship & Advertising Coordinator

Kristen Cortelyou, Marketing Assistant

Sina Crenshaw, Video Edith – Volunteer

Insights & Strategy

The advertorial proposal from the Apex Arts Centre was the prompt for us to look at the practical, financial and ethical issues regarding this type of advertising. We did this by reading how other media companies had used them and how they used them. Above all we wanted to ensure that, if we introduced advertorials, these not just conformed to the letter of the Air Force regulations but to the spirit in which they were drafted.

To address the issue of conforming to the letter and spirit of the AFIs, we sought the agreement on the use of advertorials from Air Force Services and our local JA here at RAF Mildenhall. We only proceeded when we had received explicit agreement from both. The specific advice we received from our JA is that the advertorials must be clearly marked as provided by the advertiser so that readers understand the content’s origin.

This process of consultation and agreement with the relevant parties within the USAF is key to how we approached advertorials – and at the core of how 100 FSS Marketing approaches innovative work.

Concept/Big Idea

Our concept was the introduction of advertorials. After we received the go-ahead for advertorials we worked out the practicalities:

  1. They are clearly marked as sponsored.
  2. We include the advertiser’s logo.
  3. The advertorials need to be under between 300-500 words.
  4. The theme and content required the prior agreement of 100 FSS Marketing and that we had the right to refuse an article.
  5. The advertiser would need to provide images to go with the magazine and our graphics team would use the images to design the look of the article so that it fits with the Get Up and Go’s style guide. 


We set standards for the advertorials above and beyond the advice of JA:

  1. The content had to be of equivalent standard to the rest of the Get Up and Go.
  2. In terms of writing and style it must fit with the magazine’s ethos.
  3. The advertorials must add to the reader’s experience.
  4. The editorial could not be a blatant plug for the advertiser but must add value to the magazine – in this way we set a higher standard for ourselves than mainstream media outlets such as the Economist and New York Times.


Once we had set the practical and ethical framework, we proceeded to use advertorials in two ways – we advertised on our 100 FSS Sponsorship page on our website and we pitched it in conversations with advertisers. In our 100 FSS Sponsorship page we specifically highlighted it as part of 100 FSS’s mission to provide innovative and customer centric product.

Tactics/Creative Execution

In introducing advertorials we found that they attracted new advertisers. Our first advertorial in January 2023 was from Odyssey, a local ski shop, who said that they had seen the opportunity of advertorials on our website and wanted to write one.

Advertorials served as the hook: in addition to the advertorial, we sold Odyssey a package that included advertising on digital TV screens, A1 signs across base and in the Get Up and Go magazine. The advertorial served an ‘in’ to sell a much bigger package.

The theme of Odyssey’s advertorial was Alpine ski resorts – they have great familiarity with the subject given that most of their customers are visiting the Swiss, French and Austrian Alps, and it was a subject that interests our readers, USAF servicemen and their families, looking to experience European skiing.

The Mildenhall Museum has also contributed a sponsored article using their historians’ local knowledge to write about ghost stories and spooky goings on in Mildenhall. We further have an advertorial ready to run from a weight training firm, Holland Strength, in early 2024. It is now a popular means of advertising for our advertisers.


In assessing whether advertorials met our objectives we can say the following:

  1. Created a new medium for RAF Mildenhall’s Advertising and Sponsorship Program that has proved popular with advertisers.
  2. By ensuring that the ethical and writing standards are observed we believe we have enhanced the content of the Get Up and Go. For instance, the specialist knowledge of Odyssey about Alpine skiing resorts and the historians at the Mildenhall Museum about local folklore, has allowed us to feature articles of a greater variety than if we as the Marketing Department had attempted to write on these subjects.
  3. Being first in the USAF to introduce advertorials fits with 100 FSS Marketing’s own brand to provide innovative content.
  4. Created a new medium for advertising across the USAF and possibly wider US military. Essentially, we have created for the USAF an open-ended advertising medium.
  5. Cost free for 100 FSS to introduce. We get the advertiser to provide higher quality content and pay us whilst doing so.

Brand Building

100 FSS was willing to step outside the box and offer unique opportunities for our sponsors to reach their target market. By helping build their brand and resulting sales, it established 100FSS as a trusted source for information and opportunities for both advertisers/sponsors and our readers.

Additional Information/Insights

Introducing a groundbreaking initiative, 100 FSS Marketing pioneered advertorials within the USAF, leveraging the tried-and- tested model seen in mainstream media outlets like the Economist and New York Times. This innovation stemmed from strategic customer consultation and meticulous research, ensuring alignment with USAF standards by collaborating with Air Force Services and Judicial Affairs. The initiative emerged organically from a dialogue with the Apex Arts Centre, a Suffolk cultural institution, showcasing the tailored nature of our advertising solutions. With clear objectives, such as enhancing engagement with advertisers and elevating the content quality of our monthly magazine, the Get Up and Go, we meticulously crafted guidelines, including content length, branding, and ethical standards, surpassing mainstream media benchmarks. This strategic introduction not only catered to advertisers like Odyssey and the Mildenhall Museum but also fostered broader opportunities for content diversity and reader engagement. Achieving our set objectives, this cost-free initiative fortified 100 FSS’s reputation as an innovative, customer-centric entity, setting a precedent within the USAF and potentially the broader US military landscape.