Three’s Company: Smith Brothers Start Agency

Plans hatched during a Thanksgiving homecoming came to fruition last month when Lindsey, Miles and Bronson Smith opened their own agency, Smith Brothers.

The Pittsburgh shop has just completed an outdoor and radio campaign for Pittsburgh Brewing’s IC Light. Billboards feature bare midriffs and the tagline, “More taste, less waist.”

The brothers, who are joined in the venture by former Euro RSCG chief financial officer Gregg Kelly, have plenty of connections to the Iron City. Their father, Tom Smith, was chairman of Ketchum, once the city’s largest agency, from 1978 to 1988. Growing up, they became acquainted with many of the town’s movers and shakers.

The three sons all followed their father into advertising, but they started on Madison Avenue.

“We headed to New York to develop our careers and reputations,” said Miles Smith. “We had to get out from under Dad’s shadow.”

Lindsey was formerly an executive creative director at Avrett Free & Ginsberg, where he partnered for a time with Bronson, an art director who more recently was chief creative at U.S. Interactive. Miles was formerly director of business development at TMP Worldwide, New York.

The brothers had discussed starting an agency before, but casual talks over the holidays about working with Pittsburgh Brewing spurred them to action. Miles Smith said their plans in clude using Kelly’s financial acumen to grow and develop through acquisition. He thinks there’s room in Pittsburgh for an agency to prosper.

“It’s an underappreciated market in terms of corporate activ ity,” Miles Smith said. “We see a gap between where it is and where it could be.”

Also attractive, he admitted, is “the fact we could watch Steelers games live instead of in some sports bar in Hoboken [New Jersey].”