Microsoft's Bradford Puts Her Stamp on Global Warming Effort

Plays Major Role in July 7 Live Earth Concert

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NEW YORK ( -- When Microsoft Corp. tapped Joanne Bradford late last year to lead MSN, it signaled the importance Microsoft was placing
MSN chief Joanne Bradford sees big potential in Live Earth.
MSN chief Joanne Bradford sees big potential in Live Earth.
on its portal. MSN would, as Ms. Bradford said at the time, help define the intersection where advertising meets content. Even when she was heading Microsoft's online ad sales before her new MSN-centric role, Ms. Bradford championed original branded entertainment online.

Now, the VP-chief media officer of MSN is part of what arguably will be the biggest online-content event of the year: the July 7 Live Earth concert to fight global warming. Shortly after sharing the stage with Al Gore, Cameron Diaz and Control Room CEO Kevin Wall to announce Live Earth, Ms. Bradford talked to Advertising Age's Abbey Klaassen about that event and the role of MSN in redefining content for a new medium. Below is an edited transcript.

How is Live Earth going to be different from Live 8?

This is going to be way more than a streaming event. As an example [from earlier MSN efforts], we built a Bunco tournament for [Procter & Gamble Co.'s] Prilosec, and there's chat, games, interplay. We created "Chef to the Rescue" with Kraft, and there are message boards, [ways to] get the recipe.

Instead of giving people a one-dimensional experience from a product perspective, our plan is to get great content on MSN, be entertained, use Messenger to share your passion and position. ... The phenomenon in 2005 around Live 8 was I can see this when I want how I want. Now it's not just when I want it and how I want it but also how can I share in this cause. Every day we'll add new functionality, new features. This is the greatest showcase on earth to show what our services can do.

How are you preparing?

We did the Nokia New Year's concert, which was live from five locations around the globe. That was great learning for us, and that was with Kevin Wall [of Control Room]. The thing about music is it transcends all borders, and it's content that can scale globally. ... Not many other companies in the world can do what we can globally. We're in 42 countries, 21 languages. ... Also, this isn't about the one date. This is about figuring out how to sustain this message, let people see this.

Why invest in such a giant endeavor?

For me, personally, I believe the internet is one of the most empowering things that's been given to consumers in my lifetime. I want to see it used really in the right way. That's what I love about what Kevin [Wall] and Al [Gore] are doing around this. ... The next piece is getting people to take action. ... The numbers of people who show up on the web to watch and do things -- I don't think the world understands the power of that yet. That's why I work at Microsoft and MSN, so we can prove what technology can do for the web and for the world.

You were handed the reins to MSN. How does this fit within your goal for the portal?

For MSN, I want to show people they can get information and do something and have a great experience. They can choose when they want to watch something, choose the video they want. ... I want consumers to see more and do more on MSN, and to do that we're creating compelling partnerships, programs and experiences.

Like your Control Room partnership?

As I said, music is the universal language. I'm going to use it to help engage our consumers. ... I'm in all of this for the long term.