Bcom3 Folds Ayer Into Kaplan Thaler

CHICAGO—N.W. Ayer, one of the nation’s oldest agencies but, in recent years, a shadow of its once-formidable self, is being folded into The Kaplan Thaler Group by parent Bcom3, the Chicago-based holding company said. Ayer’s clients, which will be assumed by Kaplan Thaler in New York, include Continental Airlines, KitchenAid, Charming Shoppes and Villeroy & Boch. Bcom3, also parent of Leo Burnett and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, agreed last month to be acquired by the Pub licis Groupe in a deal estimated at $3 billion.

Element 79 Spot Backs Gatorade Water Launch

CHICAGO—The national launch of Gatorade’s Propel brand of water is backed by a 30-second TV spot from Element 79 Partners here that, through special effects, has drops of water from a faucet morphing into various athletes. “Propel. The fitness water,” a voiceover states. Three print ads are also part of the campaign. Propel is flavored with various fruits and contains vitamins. Gatorade, a unit of PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats Co., started testing Propel almost three years ago.

State Farm Freshens Campaign via DDB

CHICAGO—State Farm Companies launches a campaign Monday from DDB Chicago with a new theme, “We live where you live.” TV, print, radio and outdoor continue State Farm’s long-running tagline, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Spots showcase all of the Bloomington, Ill., company’s insurance and financial services. Two TV spots show a montage of State Farm agents at work backed by a musical score. State Farm spent $230 million in 2001, according to CMR.

Ford Enlists Celebs in Breast Cancer Campaign

DETROIT—Ford Motor Co.’s 2002 breast cancer awareness campaign includes print work featuring celebrities and a promotional bandanna created by designer Kate Spade. The effort shows the bandanna being worn by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, singer Sheryl Crow, Spade and actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Susan Sarandon. Ads break in May and June issues of select Condé Nast publications and will run for five months. Ford will give away free bandannas at Race for the Cure events nationwide. Ford agency J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, coordinated the effort, and WPP Group’s Ford Motor Media handled media buying.

Emerson Debuts Branding Campaign

CHICAGO—Global electric and industrial manu facturing company Emerson is launching a corporate-wide branding campaign Tuesday from Beyond DDB in Chicago. Three print ads for the St. Louis company will run in trade media, starting with a full four-color page in the first edition of the redesigned Wall Street Journal.

FCB Resigns Maryland BlueCross

CHICAGO—Foote, Cone & Belding here has resigned CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Owings Mills, Md., the agency said. FCB, which split last year with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in Chicago, the umbrella organization for Blue Cross systems nationwide, still has Blue Cross business in Florida.