George P. Johnson (GPJ) is an experiential marketing firm based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with 29 offices worldwide. Founded in 1914, the agency has grown to employ more than 1,300 people. Part of the Project: Worldwide agency network, GPJ recently launched a sports marketing agency, boasts a manufacturing space for creating marketing materials, and has worked with IBM, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
House of Innovation
The timing of this work was particularly important. While we have done a number of sports marketing experiences over the years, we have recently transformed this offering into a formalized practice. A Super Bowl activation like the Under Armour "House of Innovation" was a perfect opportunity to kickstart this launch. We love the creativity our teams bring to high-profile events such as these, especially one that emphasized a unique experience separate from other Super Bowl Boulevard distractions. With the House of Innovation, Under Armour stood on its own, an attraction in and of itself, instead of being just one of the stops along the way.
GPJ was tasked with launching the world’s fastest shoe in the busiest city, at its busiest time, in one of its busiest places: New York, Super Bowl, Grand Central Station. The team decided to use Super Bowl weekend to its advantage, creating a unique and coveted experience away from the crowded streets of Super Bowl Boulevard. The big idea? The House of Innovation -- a takeover of Grand Central Station. With 360-degree digital projection, exciting digital engagements, and surprise celebrity guests, the event drew and sustained visitors, and it cemented Under Armour as a premiere shoe brand. During the four-day takeover, The House of Innovation clocked almost 700,000 visitors and thousands of social interactions. The event was such a success that celebrities and consumers were all leaving Super Bowl Boulevard to head over to the House.
The Swag Machine was a unique and innovative solution that we’re particularly proud of for three reasons: 1) It was a unique way to get individualized social data on key constituents, continually. 2) This program can be implemented anywhere to determine sentiment regionally and by demographic. 3) Not only did it solve the problem of distributing swag, but it was a way for attendees to engage on their own terms, and self-select their degree of engagement.
The Swag machine ultimately helps establish deeper relationships with greater actionable metrics for Scion. Experience marketing can and should be driven and proven by the data produced before the experience, during the experience, and after the experience. The Swag machine is a perfect example of Scion collecting data about their consumer for better future experiences.
Scion wanted to increase brand awareness among key segments and develop an automated system of delivering branded merchandise on a minimal budget. Recognizing that social was a critical part of Scion’s customer engagement strategy, GPJ and sister agency Spinifex created the world’s first Instagram-powered, NFC-enabled vending machine. Visitors who Instagramed a photo of the activation with the designated hashtag triggered the image to appear on the vending machine and a gift to be dispensed. Images were then projected onto the back wall of the space made up of LCD screens, along with a rotating set of images, real-time tweets, NFC check-ins and call-to-action videos. What resulted was seamless integration with the Scion brand as unforced social interaction, authentic interactions with the brand, and 20,000-plus Instagram and NFC impressions.
Camp Jeep is the epitome of the power of great ideas at GPJ. We took a big problem of placement and traffic at one of their foremost auto shows and transformed it into a unique and lasting experience. During the past 10 years, we’ve given more than 1 million people the chance to personally experience the Jeep brand value proposition. It’s reinvented the Jeep auto show experience, spreading nationally, and we’ve been able to maximize every angle cutting the cost year over year.
With many auto shows taking place in underground or warehouse spaces, the annual New York Auto Show is no different, so GPJ set out to make the challenging location into a distinct advantage. Combining thousands of yards of dirt with tons of rock and eight trail-rated vehicles, Camp Jeep was born: the mountain in Manhattan. Camp Jeep is unique in the way it allows attendees to experience their favorite off-road features in the Jeep 101 course, talk in-person with Jeep engineers, and enjoy loads of outdoor activities. This program started at the New York International Auto Show and has since spread to 40 cities. The program just celebrated 10 years, and 1 million Camp Jeep rides, all while cutting the cost per ride by more than 60% since launch. Camp Jeep continues to delight clients and fans year over year, taking home more than 60 “Best of Show” awards.
The scale and breadth of Dreamforce enables all of GPJ’s practice areas to shine on a very large stage. Everything from our fabrication, to creative and production, and technological innovation supports the key marketing activity for Salesforce, a company ranked most innovative in the world by Forbes four years in a row. It’s a stage for us to showcase our innovation, and we are proud to step up to the plate and make it even better every year.
Salesforce gave GPJ the challenge of thrilling the cloud computing and business communities with a groundbreaking event that generates buzz. So, GPJ set out to create a 24/7 branded, completely immersive experience featuring original content available for both physical and virtual attendees by using persona-based Strategic Experience Mapping to create user-centric journeys as part of a city-wide takeover. Dubbed the Dreamforce Plaza, the space was the hub of activity with multiple stages, video screens, lighting towers, sponsor lounges, and interactive gaming areas, among other things. And the Dreamforce Plaza delivered record-breaking results including 150,000 registered attendees, 1,450 breakout sessions, $8 million raised for local children’s hospitals, and keynotes from Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, will.i.am, Arianna Huffington, and more.
Cisco House at The London Olympics
The Cisco House at the London Olympics was an exercise in monumental creative vision. Any other agency might have thrown their hands up and given up at the thought of creating a unique and coveted branded environment that was both outside of Olympic village, but close enough to feel like part of the action. Because we’re vertically integrated, we were able to start from the ground up and transform a parking garage into an environment. The logistics challenges we faced along the way might have seemed endless, but it resulted in an environment suited for a C-Suite audience mesmerized by the Olympics.
Challenged to break through to the notoriously inaccessible C-level audience at the 2012 London Olympics, GPJ developed a special 30-by-30-meter branded environment and experience that gave thousands of senior technology buyers unfettered access to the Olympic Games through Cisco’s point of view. The space was dynamic, creating peer-driven conversations through varying exclusive experiences that VIPs not only seek out, but which also align to Cisco’s brand, products, and services. It featured state-of-the-art meeting rooms leveraging Cisco technology, interactive exhibits telling the Cisco business story via 3D and 360-degree theaters, networking lounges that transformed into a formal gala dining area, and much more. More than 15,000 people came to Cisco House, spending more than two hours in the space, visiting the space repeatedly, and exit polls rated enjoyment levels high.
Originally published Nov 21, 2014 2:00:12 AM, updated December 05 2014