- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2002

Something was missing for Bruce Gifford when he had a high-profile job at Arnold Worldwide, an international advertising agency.
"I was dealing with some big accounts, but a lot of the work was more maintenance than solving problems, and there wasn't the kind of challenge that made me pick this profession in the first place," said Mr. Gifford, 38.
Mr. Gifford said the lack of fulfillment and chance to work with former colleagues made it easier to leave Arnold and become the creative director at Plus Smith Communications, a start-up advertising and communications firm in Falls Church.
"Matt Smith [owner and founder of Plus Smith] hired me at Arnold, so I've worked with him and know that our personalities get along when we're brainstorming," Mr. Gifford said.
The responsibilities of the position range from attracting new clients and creating ideas to writing copy and directing an eight-member team, he said.
"Because it's a small company that just got started, so much of my work is going to mesh with others' and it's more about being a team player than anything else right now."
Current accounts on which Mr. Gifford collaborates include Bon Secours Hospitals in Richmond, SS United States Foundation and City Performance Logistics.
Mr. Smith called Mr. Gifford's hiring "a no-brainer," citing his experience at Arnold and a 10-year stint as a copywriter for Messner Vetere Berger McNamee, a New York advertising agency.
"Bruce has a lot of experience with big-name accounts like Volvo, J. Crew and J.P. Morgan, and I saw how well his work habits complemented mine when we worked at Arnold," said Mr. Smith, who worked at Arnold as creative director before starting his company in July.
"In this industry, it's important to work with people you know," he said.
Mr. Smith said he also plans to put Mr. Gifford in charge of spearheading the company's customer base outside the Washington area.
"We've tried to identify as not your typical Washington public relations agency," Mr. Smith said. "Because we're using a lot of New York and West Coast-style approaches to the advertising, we want to also draw in customers from those areas."
His greatest challenge so far has been adjusting to the company's smaller size and fewer resources, Mr. Gifford said.
"It's been a challenge as far as the numbers go, but you put in a lot of the same effort and thinking for a $200 account as you would for a $2 million account," he said.
"However, there are the benefits to not having the large overhead, red tape and command chain" that comes with a larger corporation, he added.
Mr. Gifford lives in Arlington with his wife, Barbara.

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