MSN’s Bradford Joins SpotRunner

NEW YORK Veteran MSN executive Joanne Bradford has left the Microsoft-owned portal to run national ad sales for Spot Runner, a Los Angeles-based technology firm that offers products designed to make it easier for advertisers large and small to produce and run TV ads.

Bradford, the longtime face of MSN to the digital advertising world, had most recently served as corporate vp and chief media officer of the MSN Media Network, where she oversaw both sales and programming for the Web giant. Her departure comes as Microsoft continues its heated pursuit of MSN rival Yahoo!, which if the deal goes through will likely result in a prolonged integration period. During this period, Bradford has maintained something of a lower profile, as Microsoft executives such as Brian McAndrews, svp for advertiser and publisher solutions, and Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s senior vp, strategic partnerships, have publicly pushed for the deal to be approved.

Initially, Spot Runner has focused on local advertisers — ranging from neighborhood restaurants to law firms — as its products provide small businesses with the ability to produce professional-looking 30-second TV spots, and then purchase inventory on local TV stations, often for a fraction of the cost of most national ad campaigns. That focus is changing going forward, as Bradford will look to build the company’s footrpint among national advertisers.

“Hiring Joanne is a huge win for Spot Runner and we are tremendously excited about the contributions she can make across our entire organization as a key member of the executive team,” said Nick Grouf, chairman and CEO of Spot Runner, which in 2006 received a minority investment from WPP. “Her background in both online and offline media is a perfect fit for us.”

In a statement, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s svp, search, portals & advertising platform group, painted Bradford’s departure as amicable. “We wish Joanne Bradford all the best as she moves to Spot Runner. We thank her for her many contributions in helping us build a world class advertising sales organization, bringing the advertiser point of view closer to Microsoft and evolving the MSN experience through partnerships and branded entertainment.”