The Unsung Hero of the Detroit Auto Show

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Most will not see them or even know they exist, but they’re a huge player in creating the “visitor experience” at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the general public this Saturday, January 19th.

I’m talking about the George P. Johnson Company.  They’re the undisputed King of Trade Shows, best known for producing nearly 5,000 exhibits and events world-wide annually.  This family-owned business is headquartered in a 500,000 square foot facility right here in the City of Auburn Hills at 3600 Giddings Road.

George P. Johnson

George P. Johnson

They were founded by entrepreneur George P. Johnson in 1914 as a sail-maker serving the growing Great Lakes region shipping trade.

With the rise of the automotive industry, Johnson eventually transitioned his business into a whole new enterprise of designing and creating “branded environments” at festivals, fairs, and other public spaces where potential customers could be found.  Today, they’re the No. 1 ranked event and experience marketing agency in the world.

The big talk of this year’s auto show is their Nissan exhibit which will feature a floating 145-foot long illuminated halo around it and a “special scent.”

Innovative Nissan display created by the George P. Johnson Company

Innovative Nissan display created by the George P. Johnson Company

I encourage you to read this New York Times article (click here) about how the George P. Johnson Company designed and installed the exhibit with “an alluring scent” and music to help Nissan literally lure attendees by their senses to the display.

Just a little inside baseball about a great Auburn Hills’ company.