The McCann Time Capsule: Mr. McCann's Seminal Influence on Telecommunications Advertising
Telecommunications is today one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated marketing categories, but a century ago it was an infant industry still developing its advertising methods. And one of the telephone world’s chief advertising innovators, as recognized by publications at the time, was Harrison King McCann, later to become the lead founder of the McCann agency.
Originally from Maine, Mr. McCann had moved to New York for a career in advertising. After working initially at an agency, he landed a position at New York Telephone where he served as its advertising manager for four years before leaving in early 1911 to join the huge Standard Oil Company conglomerate in a similar position.
By then, his phone marketing creds were well established. “His work is well known by telephone men throughout the country,” said Telephony magazine in 1911, noting how Mr. McCann had “organized” a “special advertising department” where there had been none at New York Telephone. Another magazine, Public Service Management, talked a year earlier about how “under [his] general direction,” New York Telephone’s approach represented “a firm belief in the effectiveness of advertising and keen appreciation of the superior value of well planned advertising.” As the magazine said, “Many of the telephone companies are intelligent advertisers, and among these the New York company take a high rank.”
New York Telephone—very coincidentally—has evolved over time to become Verizon, now one of McCann New York’s major clients.