Tumblr hires new sales chief to lead ad drive

Tumblr is ramping up its advertising plans with the hiring of Lee Brown, who will serve as the company’s first head of global sales. The hiring marks another big step for Tumblr as it distances itself from its old anti-advertising stance and embraces brands that want to use the blogging platform to reach consumers.

The company has historically shunned traditional advertising but in May, began rolling out the first paid products for advertisers. Those included placing branded posts into Tumblr’s Radar feature, letting brands run display ads at the top of Spotlight pages and allowing users to pin posts to the top of their followers’ dashboard. Since launching its ad products, Tumblr has worked with Coca-Cola (s KO), Sdidas, Fox Searchlight (s nws) , Calvin Klein, and MTV (s via).

Brown is coming over from Groupon (s grpn), where he was senior vice president of national sales. Before that, he worked at Yahoo (s yhoo) for ten years, most recently as vice president of east coast sales.  Here’s what Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp had to say:

“We’ve made great progress in the last few months in supporting brands and advertisers, and look forward to Lee helping accelerate that progress. The advertising opportunities on Tumblr are unique and awesome, and with Lee’s experience, we look forward to seeing even more truly creative advertising on Tumblr.”

Karp has made it clear he wants to build ad units that still work within the larger Tumblr framework and appeal to the creative nature of the platform. While Karp has said in the past that traditional advertising turns his stomach, he’s also bent on making sure that Tumblr can be self-sustaining. Now, with a new ad sales chief, he’s got a chance to make that goal more attainable.