Spending at Sundance cited in firing of 2 Bing executives

Published March 27, 2012 10:18 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What happens at Sundance doesn't necessarily stay at Sundance.

Some spending shenanigans during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival are being cited as one of the reasons two top marketing executives at Bing, Microsoft's search-engine brand, were fired last week, according to Advertising Age.

Officially, executives Eric Hadley and Sean Carver were let go for, Ad Age reports, "violating company policies related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor procurement."

Ad Age reports that one of the incidents uncovered in an internal Microsoft investigation included problems with line items and dates on purchases made for the Bing Bar, the huge hospitality area and celebrity hangout on Park City's Main Street (in the former Claimjumper restaurant).

The Bing Bar this year featured performances by Jason Mraz and Drake, as well as appearances by Neil Young and Paul Simon.

The public firing of Hadley and Carver, Ad Age says, may put into question the attention-grabbing, celebrity-heavy marketing strategy that was raising Bing's profile — but not necessarily helping Microsoft put a dent in Google's hold on the search-engine market.

"We'll continue with the harder working, more traditional marketing to show people the product," Adam Sohn, Bing's general manager for communications and influencer marketing, told Ad Age.

What has yet to be decided is whether Microsoft will reopen the Bing Bar for Sundance 2013.