Ayer's winning combo: Finance, food & fashion

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For N.W. Ayer & Partners, functional foods, fashion and finance add up to fifty -- $50 million, that is.

Credit report site Truecredit.com, retailer Charming Shoppes and dietary supplement company OmegaTech DHA have joined the New York shop's roster.

In fact, Truecredit.com is the first dot-com client for Ayer. The agency won the account by leveraging a "human contact approach" to court Internet users, said Ayer President-CEO Mary Beth Casey.

The agency will let consumers know that Truecredit "is not just an information provider, but also a counselor or adviser," she said.

Truecredit supplies consumers with personal information from the major credit bureaus and offers advice on how to understand credit reports and avoid credit fraud. Lehman Bros. has a majority investment in the company. Ayer is Truecredit's first agency of record

FEMALE FOCUS

For Charming Shoppes, Ayer will handle creative and media planning. The retailer owns 1,745 stores under the Fashion Bug, Catherine's Stores and Modern Women names.

Ayer executives utilized female-focused knowledge gained working with former client Avon Products to woo the new client. The 25-to-54-year-old women both Avon and Charming Shoppes target have "a similar household income and sense of style," Ms. Casey said. Ayer's BCom3 Group sibling shop, Media-Vest, was awarded media buying duties for Charming Shoppes.

On the functional food front, Ayer will create a branding campaign for OmegaTech and its Gold Circle Farms food line, which are enriched with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have linked DHA with numerous health benefits, such as a possible decrease in the chance of suffering from depression. Ayer's KitchenAid team will assist with the OmegaTech account. Both brands target "caring homemakers," Ms. Casey said.

In addition to tapping into the experience of existing staffers, the agency expects to hire new staffers to work on all three new accounts.

Ayer, Ms. Casey points out, is in on ground-floor branding for each of its wins -- new brand launches with Truecredit and OmegaTech, and a "redefinition" of Charming Shoppes.

"There's no better time to get involved," she said. "We're starting from the beginning."

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