McCann Tales: Celebrating 50 Years of Sharon Mackenzie at McCann
Mad Men was my first glimpse into the advertising industry during my sophomore year of high school, and I was hooked. Around that time, I also convinced myself that the show had to be a fictional Hollywood recreation meant for ratings. Well, fast forward seven years and the exact words that Sharon Mackenzie, Project Manager at Craft (McCann’s in-house production arm), told me shall remain between us, but let’s just say it was a truly eye-opening introduction into the ways of the advertising world – more real and insightful than anything my young naive teenage self got from Mad Men in the first place.
Fifty years ago, Sharon started working at McCann. That same year, Jimi Hendrix released the song Purple Haze, which I slayed in my sixth grade middle school talent show. I guess age really is just a number.
The McCann Tales Sharon can tell are nothing short of amazing. She told me about the time half the production staff got thrown into prison for accidentally sailing into Cuban waters on their way to St. Thomas. And how they once had to cancel a big shoot containing an elephant because they had everything figured out except how to actually get it inside the building. Who would’ve known elephants don’t fancy walking through undersized garage doors? Probably similar to why Lex Singer didn’t like getting put in gym lockers in high school. Just by sheer proportions, that’s a challenge.
But the most profound thing Sharon reflected on was McCann’s motto, Truth Well Told. Over her amazing career, our motto hasn’t been something we just slap on press releases and logos; instead, she believes it truly embodies a sentiment McCanners strive to emulate every single day. It’s an intangible bond that holds each other accountable and connects everyone. In her words, when we all represent such a powerful phrase to its fullest, the saying, “we thrive together, we die together” becomes a reality.
Sharon is an inspiration, and has done what many can’t – survive and thrive. She’s a successful pioneer in an industry that’s ever changing; and that takes backbone, fearlessness and audacity.
As for the rest of us, I think we’re all still trying to get that elephant through the door.