Ad Execs Bullish On Bradford
"She's always been extremely client-focused; it's her strongest quality," said Clark Kokich, worldwide president of aQuantive's Avenue A/Razorfish. "It's a great thing to bring that focus to such a senior position."
Bradford, 43, was enlisted by Microsoft in 2001 to implement her measurement and advertising expertise within a corporate culture more concerned with technology and content than advertising. "She came in as a change agent," said Sarah Fay, president of Aegis Group's Isobar U.S. network. "She's been able to apply the discipline and accountability from the advertising world to an industry unfamiliar with that world."
Bradford came to Microsoft from BusinessWeek, where she served as head of North American sales. More recently, in January, Microsoft tapped her to head ad sales as MSN sales chief. In her new role as chief media officer, Bradford will now oversee all of MSN's marketing, business development and branded entertainment initiatives.
She will continue to report to Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of MSN's online services group. Berkowitz himself was hired away from IAC/InterActiveCorp in April as part of the larger effort by Microsoft to invigorate its online business efforts.
"These are bold signs that Microsoft is absolutely serious about online advertising as a business," said Kokich of the company's recent appointments.
There is also a sense among insiders that Bradford's ascendance is another indication of online advertising's future health. Said Greg Verdino, vice president/director of emerging channels at Digitas: "It speaks well about the importance of advertising as a major revenue engine now."