An Overview of Department of Defense Policies and Practices On Advertisers and Ad Content
These guidelines are intended to help shape your sales efforts and manage marketplace expectations as to the types of advertisers that would be acceptable, and would meet with success in the military market. The display of advertising and its creative content are more tightly controlled in the military than in civilian media. So, the more information we receive the better we can assist and help manage expectations.
Essentially there are 3 tiers of policies that impact Advertising and Event Sponsorship beginning with the Department of Defense (DoD) which has published regulations that serve as a guide in the implementation of advertising initiatives for all branches of service (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.)
The second tier is at the branch level. Each branch has its own set of official instructions interpreting and defining how that branch must carry out the DoD’s instructions. These instructions also contain additional policies and guidelines required of its bases/ installations and are germane to its standard operating procedures, issues, and best practices.
The third is the base level where local or regional officers-in-charge can impose rules in the interest of those in their command. DoD regulations clearly give base commanders the final say of what appears on their installation, no matter how well advertising meets all policies, guidelines and practices.
And sometimes, when a local advertiser spends significant dollars on advertising and sponsorship on a base, local officials may respectfully decline ads from advertisers that compete with its largest advertising and sponsorship “benefactor,” even though having exclusivity is very rare.
From time to time ad hoc moratoriums may be placed on certain kinds of advertisers or advertising. These come and go because usually they are event-triggered prohibitions that in time resolve themselves. As a hypothetical example, a service member drinks 20 Energy Drinks and dies of a heart attack. Not wanting to look complicit in promoting dangerous behavior, acceptance of advertising for energy drinks is temporarily tabled by bases. After an investigation that documents his personal reckless behavior, the Energy Drink category is returned to the list of acceptable advertisers.
While at first glance these three levels of policies and regulations may seem daunting, we can usually get directional information quickly. Consider that these barriers to entry are also greatly beneficial for advertisers as they gate competition and ensure the advertiser’s message appears in a comparatively uncluttered environment. Finally lack of clutter, in and of itself, supports advertising effectiveness and repeat business for you.
The following is a helpful guide for the most commonly applied rules governing on-base ad placements.