The McCann Time Capsule: Putting on a (Fashion) Show
While New York Fashion Week is going strong, another major NYC fashion showcase tradition which McCann was involved with has long passed, although its influence lives on as the career launch pad of such performers as Jane Krakowski and Sarah Jessica Parker.
From 1953-1980, the hot fashion industry ticket for retail buyers and clothing manufacturers visiting NYC twice a year was the Milliken Breakfast Show, where Milliken Woolens would introduce its new fabrics with a major Broadway-style musical comedy revue. Multiple performances over the weeks accommodated total audiences of about 20,000-30,000 industry customers. With big production expenses that rivaled those of Broadway shows, it brought in talent such as Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse and Chita Rivera, among many other A-listers. The large cast also included newcomer “Millikiddies” then starting out in the 1970s, such as Krakowski and Parker.
McCann had two units involved in this musical, its sales promotion arm SCI (Sales Communications Inc.) and PR arm CCI (Communications Counselors Inc.). As the agency said about the 1962 spring productions, SCI, now in its “ninth year of involvement. . . has taken the show from a cast of two and an attendance of a few thousand, to a cast of 40 Broadway professionals written, produced and directed by top names in the New York theatre.” The agency maintained it was “the first industrial show in which the selling message is completely integrated with a musical comedy show equal to the finest Broadway production.”
McCann NY was also focused in other ways on fashion marketing five decades ago. In 1967, it launched FAST (Fashion and Style Techniques Group) as one of its specialized units, with a client list that included J.P. Stevens.