Few companies can say they’ve existed for 100 years. This year, the George P. Johnson Co. proudly celebrates 110 years of crafting experiences, stepping into the next decade of our storied heritage. We don’t just keep pace with change; we drive innovation and progress. Our consistency ensures clients have a reliable partner guiding them to continued success.

Ten (More) Visionary Years

2014: Data-Driven

Do a search on data-driven event marketing and it’s every company’s top result today.

We said that 10 years ago.

Including the years prior, data has impacted every GPJ client project and remains the cornerstone of all our business decisions and audience journeys today. This is the result of our forward-thinking.

And look how far trade shows have come.

2015: Global Partnerships Shine

Growth and expansion are vital to our enduring success, as GPJ acquired pulse220 to up-level or our experiential offerings. We said it then:

Chris Meyer, CEO

And experiential budgets have only grown year after year. Our Global AOR partnership with IBM earned special recognition for diversifying event portfolios and opportunities, and we’ve continued to expand our client list in the time since.

Sports marketing was a major business imperative then as much as it is today, and we were already producing award-winning sports marketing experiences with our amazing Pepsi clients.

2016: Hyper-Personalization

GPJ opened for business in the Nordics with our first office in Olso, Norway.

Under the leadership of CEO Chris Meyer, we prioritized event personalization to capture better metrics from experiential campaigns. A new partnership with RainFocus enhanced our data capabilities, providing clients with comprehensive real-world and ROI metrics—once an emerging topic and complicated ask eight years ago, now recognized as essential.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we collaborated with Spinifex Group and our global Cisco clients to create Casa Cisco and tell the story of Cisco’s history in Brazil.

In sustainable achievements, Dreamforce 2015 was honored as Green Meeting of the Year by the Events Industry Council.

2017: Moves In Mobility

GPJ expanded our footprint and client support, opening a Dallas office alongside our sister agency, Shoptology.

Our Live Production team was already on a hot streak, creating cinematic and emotive experiences that wowed clients and left audiences speechless.

We continued to build on our reputation as the most awarded experiential agency, setting a record for wins the following year.

At SXSW, we partnered with NIO and NOMOBO to deliver experiences for their electrified vehicles, years ahead of today’s automotive demands. That summer, we took Smart Car on an electrified road trip throughout Germany.

2018: Doubling Down on Digital

GPJ London expanded its technical capability with the opening of The Innovation Lab, testing and producing all kinds of generative AI models, AR/VR, robotics and bespoke APIs to enhance client experiences. Meanwhile we went all-in on Digital Engagement anticipating the upcoming technology surge.

AI and machine learning were the preeminent topics, and six years ago, GPJ Americas President, Fiona Bruder, reinforced the human element needed to effectively integrate AI into experiences.

In the APAC region, GPJ ANZ scored major wins, earning Agency of the Year and landing the coveted production role for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. We also welcomed Darkhorse to the Project Worldwide family, solidifying our position as the go-to provider for luxury experiences in New Zealand.

2019: Peak Experiential

A high-water mark year, GPJ opened our first location in South America now serving our Brazil clients, and saw further expansions in the APAC region, with the unveiling of our Auckland office.

As gaming and esports gained mainstream appeal, GPJ’s acquisition of Kenwood Experiences added strategic and invaluable depth to our services. In the five years since, the demand for gaming communities, streaming and esports entertainment has surged.

GPJ announced our partnership with Cal Poly EIM, investing in the future of experiential and the next generation of experience makers.

Our IBM partners were already utilizing AI to enhance their sports experiences, like the Clio-winning US Open activation with IBM Watson.

And 2019 saw the launch of GPJ’s first ERG, House of GPJ (now GPJ Open) and received Tier II Supplier Diversity recognition from our long-time Nissan partners. Our focus on DEI has only strengthened.

2020: Resetting Engagement

In disruptive times, clients looked to GPJ as pioneers in digital experience design. We collaborated with sister agency Wondersauce to create the industry’s first open platform for digital and hybrid events.

Dreamforce To You‘ exemplified the leveraging of our investments to transform one of the biggest physical brand festivals into a compelling digital-first journey. Without skipping a beat, we answered the call during the pandemic with real, tangible results, helping clients reassure and reach audiences safely. And attendees took notice.

As members of the #LiveForLife coalition and #goLIVEtogether, we partnered with competitor agencies to provide turnkey testing and vaccination solutions, aiding in the safe return to work and highlighting how essential our industry is to the world.

The same year GPJ ANZ was honored as Campaign Asia’s Agency of the Year. Meanwhile, our internal ERGs flourished, growing to four active groups.

2021: Unified Experiences and the Rise of Experiential Retail

When it was safe to gather again, we answered the pent-up demand for in-person engagements through experiential retail. GPJ Germany envisioned the award-winning House of Schwarzkopf flagship store, complete with shopper personalization and AR. That same year, we flexed our experience design, strategy and fabrication prowess, opening the first US retail experience for Gibson Inc., the Gibson Garage in Nashville, Tennesee.

As the ‘hybrid future’ emerged, GPJ took action, making strategic investments in high-quality live broadcast. Learning from the pandemic, we leveraged the best of our digital design and authentically wove them into our live engagements creating fully-designed, unified experiences. In joint ventures with NOMOBO, we layered in TV-like broadcasts and simulcasts with the physical event, creating hours of lasting content that “meets you wherever you are”.

2022: Emergent Industries

GPJ continued pioneering experiences in emergent industries, like Hyundai’s debut of Supernal eVTOL concepts at trade shows and new partnerships with next-generation battery technology company CATL supported by GPJ China.

GPJ India celebrated 20 years of operation in the region, having produced 10,000+ virtual, hybrid and live experiences for hundreds of clients to date.

We also expanded into the Middle East, opening our GPJ Dubai office to support and manage global portfolios with clients like IBM, Kyndryl, DP World, Cisco and Nissan/Infiniti.

2023: Accelerating Leadership

GPJ’s Fiona Bruder was inducted into Event Marketer’s Experiential Hall of Fame, recognizing her devotion to strategy and institutional knowledge in the experiential industry.

Camp Jeep celebrated 3 million rides at Chicago Auto Show 2023, continuing as the longest-running and winningest automotive experiential program in history.

With the award-winning Talisman agency joining Project, we launched the Sports, Gaming and Entertainment Collective with OS Studios, Motive, G7 Entertainment Marketing and Spinifex, offering a comprehensive approach to connecting brands with culture like never before.

Today: Earned Trust

At GPJ, we pride ourselves as a diverse, family-focused global agency that earns client confidence and trust through flawless delivery. 110 years from the first flags, sails and auto shows, we continue to redefine experiential marketing. Today, we are in 29 countries, activating an average of 27 events a day.

A Legacy of Vision, Generosity, and Leadership

As we move into our 111th year at GPJ, we take a moment to look back at our storied history. A history of innovation, passion and dedication. 

A large part of that story was shaped by Robert Vallee Sr. As we reflect on his long and successful life, we celebrate the indelible mark he left on all of us.

Mr. Vallee’s story with GPJ (now a division of Project Worldwide) began in 1948, a tale of dedication and determination that spanned five decades. From humble beginnings, he climbed through the ranks. His tenure as one of our most successful salespeople paved the way for his ascent to the presidency, a role where he not only led but inspired.

In 1985, he took a bold leap to successfully acquire GPJ. His visionary leadership was evident as he steered GPJ through transformative moments, from relocating to modern facilities to spearheading expansion into new territories. Under his guidance, we didn’t just grow; we flourished, becoming the global force in experience marketing we are today.

Perhaps Mr. Vallee’s greatest gift to us was his belief in the power of ownership and community. In 2005, he made history by entrusting the success of the company not to a faceless entity, but to the employees.

Beyond his professional achievements, Mr. Vallee was known for his wit and inspiring presence, generosity that knew no bounds, and his love for his family. Together with his wife Virginia Fern Johnson Vallee and family, he touched countless lives through philanthropic work.

The Vallee family and everyone at GPJ extend our heartfelt thanks for your unwavering support as we honor Mr. Vallee’s extraordinary life. His legacy of optimism, generosity, and determination will continue to guide us, lighting the path toward a future he helped shape.

In loving memory of Robert Glen Vallee Sr.,
–The GPJ Family 

Tomorrow: The Power of Great Ideas

GPJ excels at bringing tomorrow’s industry drivers to you today. As strategic thinkers, we stay one innovation ahead while delivering world-class, fully integrated services. We love what we do, because we believe in the human power of experiential.

Amid the increasing role of AI, continued geo-economic shifts and demands for greater environmental social governance, nothing is more valuable today than trust, and GPJ continues strengthening the trust in your brands through authentic human touchpoints.

Thank you to our global colleagues, clients, vendors and partners –past and present– for your trust. We remain emboldened in making no small plans and showing the world that the Experience is truly Everything.