The McCann Time Capsule: McCann’s Many Ad Hall of Famers
Last week’s announcement that John Dooner, Jr., will be among 2019’s inductees into the AAF’s Advertising Hall of Fame has put the creation of McCann Worldgroup in the spotlight. In 1997, Dooner (pictured) was Chairman and CEO of McCann Erickson Worldwide when he transformed McCann from its position as a leading global ad agency to become McCann Worldgroup, with six additional worldwide networks across the marketing services spectrum.
But while this might be Worldgroup’s first official recognition in the Ad Hall of Fame, it’s the latest in a long stream for the McCann ad agency itself. Many of the recognized leaders are people who were primarily associated with McCann, like John Dooner, who first joined McCann in 1984 as SVP, WW Account Director, on Coca-Cola, and assumed his Worldgroup Chairman Emeritus status in 2010.
But there is also a sizable group of those who spent formative parts of their careers at McCann before going on to prominence elsewhere, a list, for example, that includes such agency stars as David Kennedy (inducted 2012) and Dan Wieden (inducted 2016) who met and first worked together at McCann Portland before launching Wieden & Kennedy in 1982.
So here’s the McCann list, including both the lifers and the pass-throughs, along with their Hall of Fame induction dates:
1949: Alfred W. Erickson, Co-Founder & Former Chairman, McCann-Erickson Inc., who was among the first group of inductees when the Advertising Hall of Fame was established. He had launched his own agency in 1902 and then merged it with The H. K. McCann Co. in 1930.
1965: Harrison King McCann, Co-Founder and longtime head of McCann from the time he launched The H. K. McCann Co. in 1912 through to naming his successor 36 years later in 1948, and then continuing to remain involved with the agency until his death in 1962.
1982: Paul Foley, former President & CEO of the Interpublic Group. A writer, he joined McCann Detroit in 1955and then rose to become manager and creative head of McCann NY (1959), McCann’s overall CEO (1968) and IPG’s CEO (1971).
1987: Eugene Kummel, former Chairman, President & CEO, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, who led the agency to become a cohesive global system in the 1970s, including through the widespread transfer of talent throughout the system.
1994: Ira (Ike) Herbert, former President, Coca-Cola USA, who moved from heading the Coke bottlers account at McCann to join Coca-Cola itself in 1965.
1995: Bill Backer, who joined McCann as a trainee in 1953, became the longtime Creative Director known most famously of late for the Coke “Hilltop” commercial, and then left and launched the Backer & Spielvogel agency in 1979.
1996: Jo Foxworth, who began as a copywriter at McCann in 1955, held a number of senior creative positions, and then launched her own agency, Jo Foxworth Inc., in 1968.
1996: Frank Mingo, Former Chairman & CEO, The Mingo Group and Muse Cordero Chen. A McCann account leader on Miller Brewing, he launched Mingo-Jones Advertising in 1977, one of the first black-owned ad agencies.
1998: Marion Harper, Jr., the former President of McCann during the 1950s who introduced total communications and the holding company concept into the industry, and then became Chairman & CEO of the Interpublic Group, which he created in 1961. He had first joined McCann in 1939, rose to become Research Director, and then, at age 32, was named to succeed Harrison McCann as President in 1948.
2003: Phil Geier, who served for two decades as Chairman and CEO of Interpublic. He had joined McCann as a trainee in the Cleveland office in 1958, then rose to become UK Chairman (1969), European Regional Director (1971), and then Vice Chairman-International before moving to IPG in1975 and then taking the top position in 1980.
2007: Billy Davis, Senior VP and Music Director at McCann. Amusician who was a founder of the group that became The Four Tops and who co-wrote Jackie Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” he was head of A&R at Chess Records when he left in 1968 to join McCann and led us musically during the years of our famous Coke and Miller Brewing commercials.
2010: Bob James, former Chairman & CEO, McCann Erickson Worldwide. Formerly the CEO of another IPG agency, James joined McCann in 1981as Vice Chairman, U.S. Operations, and four years later was named Worldwide CEO, during which time he substantially increased the size of the global network.
2011: Laurel Cutler, a Senior VP-Creative Director at McCann in the 1960s who left to hold other top posts, including as Exec VP-Global Director of Marketing Planning at FCB Worldwide.
Interestingly, another 2019 inductee, Hector Orci, the Founder and Co-Chairman of the Hispanic agency Orci, also has a pivotal connection to McCann. Hector and his wife Norma, a creative director, were first offered the opportunity to work together in 1982 when McCann in Los Angeles put them in charge of a new Hispanic shop called La Agencia de McCann-Erickson. Four years later they spun their agency off and formed Orci.He is also being presented this year with the distinguished David Bell Award for Industry Service.