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November 16, 2006

Bradford to head MSN?

Posted by David Hunter at 6:35 PM ET.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Robert A. Guth provides a glowing profile of Joanne Bradford who was appointed as Microsoft’s Web ad czar in January and offers this teaser:

In the latest signal that Microsoft has gotten the online-ad religion, a company official said yesterday that Ms. Bradford, 43 years old, will soon be named to head its MSN online group, which runs a Web site delivering news, video and services such as email and instant messaging.

MSN has lacked an executive since David Cole took a leave of absence in February although technically he was replaced in April by former CEO Steve Berkowitz who runs the Online Business Group created in March which includes MSN.

The thrust of Guth’s article is that Bradford has struggled to represent the old style of advertising sales (complete with glad handing salesman) in the techie world of Microsoft and that she might just be what MSN needs to get ad sales going. One hopes so since what Bradford has done so far as ad czar is mostly renaming Microsoft’s ad sales program and unsurprisingly, that hasn’t done much for the bottom line. Coincidentally, Henry Blodget just got through spanking Microsoft ad sales and observes:

It’s ancient history by now–and certainly not news–but it’s worth noting that Microsoft still hasn’t made any headway in the search-and-portal game and, in fact, is falling farther and farther behind.

How badly is MSN/Windows Live doing these days?  In Q3, advertising revenue rose only 5%, once again the slowest rate of growth of the big four (even lagging Yahoo’s pathetic quarter). Display advertising on portals, email, etc., was up, but search revenue was down again, despite AdCenter having been rolled out to the entire U.S. market.

Having salesman wining and dining the automakers and other big advertisers is swell if you want big splashy banners for your somnolent portal business or you want to sell full page ads in Business Week (Bradford’s previous gig), but that’s unfortunately a couple generations of the Web out of date.

Update: What would a good old fashioned advertising story be without an Ad Age rendition? Some more details:

Chris Dobson will expand his international sales responsibilities to take over Ms. Bradford’s former post, running global sales, and Bill Shaughnessy will run the Microsoft Digital Ad Solution Business Group with responsibility for product management and planning for the adCenter and ad-serving projects.

It’ll be interesting to see if they can do any better.

Update: A primer for the Bradford philosophy – Microsoft to Google: WE love ad sales people.

Filed under Advertising, Coopetition, Executives, Financial, General Business, Google, Joanne Bradford, MSN, Microsoft, Steve Berkowitz, adCenter

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7 Responses to “Bradford to head MSN?”

  1. Nissan expands MSN ad buys -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] It looks like another Joanne Bradford special - Nissan North America Expands Online Advertising Alliance With Microsoft: Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) will dramatically expand its Web advertising initiatives across online properties of Microsoft Corp., the two companies announced today. This expanded alliance will enable Nissan to more powerfully engage with consumers across multiple digital touch points throughout Microsoft® Digital Advertising Solutions including MSN®, Windows Live™, Live Search, Xbox® and Windows Mobile®. Furthermore, this new alliance allows Nissan to work directly with Microsoft content developers, strategists and subject matters experts to help Nissan reach its target consumers. [...]

  2. Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, December 15, 2006 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft launches new global ad site at What took them so long? It still seems heavy on the last generation of web advertising though. Must be the Bradford effect. [...]

  3. Microsoft eyeing Doubleclick? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The Wall Street Journal reports that privately held DoubleClick is being shopped around and that active discussions are taking place with Microsoft. Heck, why not? Microsoft seems enamored of the more antique ways to sell Web advertising, so why not collect one of the dotcom era banner ad high flyers now sadly reduced in stature? [...]

  4. aQuantive’s McAndrews takes over Microsoft Web advertising -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] In a nutshell, McAndrews now runs Microsoft’s Web advertising business with the exception of the old style banner ads sold by the Digital Advertising Solutions salesmen (so beloved of Microsoft’s last Web ad czar) which are part of Berkowitz’s “content” group. Meanwhile, Satya Nadella gets to keeps working on the Live Search plumbing while McAndrews retains control over all of aQuantive’s advanced advertising technology plus picking up MSNDR and adCenter. Now all McAndrews has to do is make it work profitably for Microsoft and he certainly will be Microsoft’s rising executive star: [...]

  5. Microsoft a wallflower at the big Facebook bash -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Translated that means that Microsoft gets to flog banner ads and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that somewhat antique business, particularly since Microsoft loves ad salesmen who sell big ticket banner ad packages to big business, and that is what the Facebook deal has looked like from the start; but you can’t help but wonder where Microsoft’s pony is or even if there is one. [...]

  6. Joanne Bradford jumps the MSN ship | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Joann Bradford who is Microsoft’s current MSN honcho and former Microsoft Web ad czar (”We love ad salesmen“) is leaving Microsoft for startup Spot Runner which is nominally an “Internet-based ad agency that makes it easy and affordable for local businesses to advertise on TV.” The trick apparently is to have canned creative content that can be easily modified for a local business. Bradford reportedly will be executive vice president of National Marketing Services, focused on national advertisers” which sounds like a good fit for her although a redefinition of Sport Runner’s business model. [...]

  7. Yahoo’s Qi Lu to run Microsoft’s Online Services; Brian McAndrews leaving | Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] interesting tidbit is that the advertising salesmen so beloved of previous Microsoft online executives have been shifted: As part of today’s announcement, several teams will move to further align [...]

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