Plus Smith Communications Installs Gifford as CD

Plus Smith Communications has hired former Arnold creative director Bruce Gifford.

Gifford, 38, joins Arnold alum Matt Smith, who left the McLean, Va., agency last May, as partner and creative director.

Gifford had been serving as de facto executive creative director with Fred Burgos, who remains at the Havas-owned shop under its new chief creative officer, Woody Kay.

Arnold’s purchase last month of Panoramic Communications’ Earle Palmer Brown office in Bethesda, Md., left the agency with a surplus of creative directors, according to Gifford. “It was a lot easier for me to go,” he said.

At Arnold, Gifford worked on the Choice Hotels International and BBC America accounts. His résumé also lists stints at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and Messner Vetere Berger McNa-mee Schmetterer Euro RSCG in New York.

“We took advantage of the situation,” said Matt Smith, whose Falls Church, Va., startup has launched with a handful of clients. “We expected not to have any business for six months, then all hell broke loose.”

The shop recently picked up creative assignments from Bon Secours’ Richmond (Va.) Health System, Charles E. Smith Realty in Washington, D.C., and Vision Computer Works in Los Angeles. Spending for the three accounts is undisclosed.

Smith Plus has also recruited former Arnold art director Gerry Jovel and account director T.J. Escott. Other new personnel hires are Suzanne Smith as general manager, Scott Sparks as director of new-business development and Barbara Borst as account planner.

“The prerequisite for working here is that you have to have been a mid- or senior-level manager and have worked at either bigger agencies or small shops with lots of creative experience,” said Smith. “Otherwise, I’m not offering anything new to the Washington area.”

Plus Smith’s print ads and four television spots for Bon Secours are scheduled to break this week. The shop is also developing a direct-mail campaign for Charles E. Smith Realty’s Crystal City.