The McCann Time Capsule: On Tech Innovation’s Leading Edge
As Lockheed Martin and McCann New York continue to rack up even more creative awards—this week’s Epica Awards in Europe being the latest!— that recognize the innovative technology achievement of the “Field Trip to Mars” virtual reality campaign, it seems worthwhile to note that this avant garde accomplishment belongs to a couple of corporate centenarians. In fact, both the Lockheed and Martin sides of Lockheed Martin started up in business in 1912, the same year that The H.K. McCann Company opened its doors.
For McCann, this VR breakthrough marks the latest step started over 25 yars ago in its Reality journey in pioneering communications efforts in the digital age.
· 1989: McCann becomes the first agency sponsor of M.I.T.'s Media Lab, including its News in the Future Consortium, and would remain the only major agency sponsor for many years.
· 1990: McCann becomes the only agency participating with ACTV in its pioneering tests of interactive TV in Springfield, Massachusetts, joining to evaluate the medium’s advertising potential, working with marketers AT&T, General Motors and Coca-Cola, and including ABC and NBC in the test.
· Also 1990: McCann becomes the only agency participating in tests on the commercial viability of Groupe Videotron’s Videoway interactive TV system in Quebec. The agency worked on a test project with Videotron and Coca-Cola, which allowed viewers to select commercials and enter contests using an in-house device during a televised concert by Quebec pop singer Celine Dion.
· 1993: McCann Healthcare Chicago develops one of the first interactive TV commercials, this one aimed at doctors for client Marion Merrell Dow’s sponsorship of Whittle Communications’ Medical News Network. The commercial invites doctors to obtain information by pressing keys on an electronic pad.
· 1994: McCann Interactive created in New York as a new unit to coordinate and build on interactive TV projects underway at all McCann Erickson agencies, including the high profile interactive TV tests by Time Warner in Orlando, Florida, (1995) and by Viacom/AT&T in Castro Valley, California (1993).
· 1996: McCann begins the series of acquisitions which would lead to the launch of McCann Worldgroup in 1997. In December 1996, it acquires Thunder House (part of its Weber Public Relations acquisition), one of the first digital agencies, which it use as the basis to form a global digital network communications capability.