Over 100 Years of Innovation
GPJ was founded by an innovative individual. We’re now a large, worldwide team of award-winning innovators.
Entrepreneur George P. Johnson founded the eponymous George P. Johnson Company in 1914 as a sail-maker serving the growing Great Lakes region shipping trade. With the rise of the automotive industry he eventually transitioned the business to helping these innovative manufacturers essentially create a whole new industry, designing and creating branded environments at festivals, fairs and other public spaces where potential customers could be found.
In the near-century since, GPJ has evolved many times. We’ve patented numerous technologies, rolled out the industry’s first global Strategy practice, grown globally and diversified our client base and capabilities like no other experiential agency. Today, we’re the #1 ranked event and experience marketing agency in the world. But we’ve stayed true to our founder’s original vision against which we measure all our ideas and work – to “make no small plans” on behalf of our clients.
George P. Johnson is officially established as a stand-alone flag and decoration company.
George P. Johnson’s flag business flourishes as demand for American flags skyrockets at the conclusion of WWI. GPJ creates world’s largest flag in 1923 (and again in 1949).
While working for the family-owned Johnson Sail and Awning Company, entrepreneur George P. Johnson decorates and designs his first ever Detroit Auto Show, giving birth to auto-show-as-marketing-theatre.
GPJ’s prominence as an event producer grows with a major role in the design of Detroit-area celebrations receiving national attention while the burgeoning automobile industry turns to the agency for live marketing services.
GPJ evolves into the premier provider of live marketing services for automobile manufacturers, pioneering the use of new technology and materials such as rear projection lighting, animation and Plexiglas into increasingly stylistic auto show displays.
The GPJ-produced National Auto Show moves from New York to Detroit at GPJ’s suggestion and hosts U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the keynote speaker. GPJ also produces huge exhibits for the World’s Fair.
George P. Johnson sets the stage for the growth of experiential marketing with the introduction of innovative concepts such as automotive racing games, audience participation, illusionists and robotics.
George P. Johnson expands, creating and managing a variety of events for an international client roster across a diverse range of industries.
GPJ builds out its international footprint, creates the industry’s first Program Strategy practice and becomes IBM’s event marketing Agency of Record with a groundbreaking consolidation program.
GPJ remains at the forefront of event and experiential marketing, trailblazing new technologies for building and measuring brand affinity for the world’s top brands.