Bates USA, the advertising agency for Wendy's, the third-largest hamburger chain, was thrown into disarray Tuesday following the death of its founder, Dave Thomas. "When a human so dominates the brand image, few brands survive the demise of the personality," Clive Chajet, head of a corporate identity consulting firm which bears his name, told today's (Wednesday) New York Times. Thomas had appeared in more than 800 commercials for the chain. Bates said it would pull existing commercials with Thomas and replace them with ones that had been produced under "contingency plans" that were apparently developed as Thomas's health began to fail. He died of liver cancer at age 69 after undergoing open-heart surgery in 1996 and kidney dialysis last year.