The McCann Time Capsule: Our Historic Bridge to Brooklyn
As part of its transformation into New York City’s “in” borough, Brooklyn has in recent years developed advertising associations as well, having become home to many new digital ad agencies. While McCann has always been headquartered in Manhattan, the agency actually has Brooklyn roots that run, well, very deep.
The H.K. McCann Co.’s 1911 incorporation papers show that two of the five founding partners were Brooklynites, and living in a variety of neighborhoods. Ralph St. Hill, the copy chief who devised the agency’s “Truth Well Told” motto, lived on Quincy St. in Clinton Hill, while Harrison Atwood, who would lead the U.S. and international expansion, was a Crown Heights resident on Hampton Place.
But the agency’s king of Kings County was Alfred W. Erickson, the founder of the 1902 agency bearing his name that would merge with McCann in 1930 to form McCann Erickson. The son of a Swedish engineer who came to work in the U.S., Erickson was born in Putnam County in upstate New York but was then raised in Brooklyn, including living with his wife on 58th St. in Sunset Park. Then, as his business started to take off, he moved into the heart of Park Slope, on 4th St near Prospect Park, well ahead of the recent trend by at least 100 years.
Erickson also has the Brooklyn distinction of being buried in the historical and nationally famous Green-Wood Cemetery, where the list of the interred runs on and on with distinguished and familiar names of American inventors, politicians, composers, artists, and the like.