McCann Tales with Phyllis Bond
McCann has been producing print ads for campaigns since the beginning. While less and less of our work is going out the door in print today, every piece of work – be it print, pixels on screen, or dpi - represents the collaborative effort of McCanners past. And at some point, somebody will want to look at it again.
These digital days, we rely on file naming conventions and cloud storage for shared access & collaboration. If you need to take a quick look at that banner from 2014, as long as you have access and can manipulate a mouse, you’re in.
However, in any decade before this one, it would not have been so easy. To achieve the same end, you'd need at least one final printed copy stored safely somewhere – meaning in an acid-free envelope and protected from UV rays to keep the work from degrading over time. You’d also need separate documentation giving you the description and physical location of that piece of work. In other words, an archive.
The McCann Archive is located in the basement of 622 Third Ave. You see its influence around the office and through the work of TWB's own Encyclopedia McCannica (and EVP, Editorial Director), Stewart Alter. Reading Stewart’s posts on McCann history is a privilege – and so too is seeing pics from back in the day. But he’s not the only person to thank. The archive housing those images didn’t always exist, and we owe a collective thank you to none other than Administrative Assistant Phyllis Bond.
It was initiative and an accidental impetus that spurred the McCann Archive's creation. One day, as part of our office renovation in 2013, a few key people visited the basement to find an 8-ton heaping mountain of decades worth of disorganized, duplicated and damaged McCann print ads. Furniture was precariously piled and propped against every surface, and a breeze could have knocked the Jenga pile down.
Enter initiative. Somebody tried to tell Phyllis she couldn’t clean up the basement, let alone find, salvage, store and document all the work. So, she did.
Every night and on weekends for six months, Phyllis sent a small dumpster’s worth of trash out of the basement – 4 tons total. With help from Executive Assistant Marcia Meade, Building Concierge Juan Santos and Office Operations VP Judy Ferber, the team transported boxes of ads upstairs, sorted, recorded and stored each ad. But before that could be undertaken, everybody had to put on a hazmat suit for the dust, mold and mildew. It was slow, and at first, dangerous work. No, Millenials and Gen Zers -- this work didn’t produce immediate gratification. And at any point, they could have thrown in the towel and nobody would have questioned them. But they soldiered on just the same.
Where others may have seen a pile to be carted off to a landfill, Phyllis had the vision, patience, perseverance and support from a few key McCanners who knew to trust her.
Phyllis helped salvage a big piece of McCann. Once, when London needed an ad from years ago and nobody knew where else to look, Phyllis did.