Plus Smith to Tout Beer Drinkers

ATLANTA The United States Beer Drinking Team has selected Plus Smith as its first advertising agency, following an informal review of several undisclosed shops, the client confirmed.

The Washington, D.C., shop will create print ads and help promote the client’s Web site and promotional tie-ins with local and national sponsors. Billings are estimated at $2-4 million, sources said.

Led by founder Matt Smith and creative director Bruce Gifford, the agency will also handle marketing for the client’s TV show, Beer Television, currently in production.

“We approached the business as an interesting way to create relationship marketing for the beer industry,” said Smith. “Beer advertising is full of [big-breasted] women and has gotten very sophomoric. That’s hitting a lot of buttons, but what’s missing is the brand loyalty tied to different beers.”

“Plus Smith kept coming up with ideas we hadn’t thought of,” said client founder Dennis Buettner. “None of the other agencies we talked to did that. We were passed down to people who just didn’t get our potential.”

Essentially an online club for beer enthusiasts, the Severna, Md., startup began less than a year ago when Buettner, a former NASA scientist, launched a Web site,, dedicated to serving the drinking interests of friends and colleagues in nearby Annapolis, Md.

“The Web site started as kind of a joke,” said Buettner, who called his company an “accidental brand.” “One day we had 50 or 60 members. In two days we had 400. After three months, we had 15,000. We’re a national loyalty program for brands, whether it’s beer or pizza or hotdogs.”

Buettner has been touting his venture with the line, “We promote your promotions.” He has signed Budweiser, Coors and Miller as corporate sponsors.