2007 EM Dream Team: Jeff Johnson - Event Marketer

2007 EM Dream Team: Jeff Johnson

Jeff Johnson

Dream Team title: Director-Green Initiatives
Current position: Director-Brand Experience Clif Bar & Co.
Why we want him: At a time when many brands are hopping on the green bandwagon Johnson has kept Clif Bar ahead of the pack with eco-inspired events that resonate with consumers and align with this privately held company’s core values. But at the same time he recognizes the need to balance between thought leadership and being too far out there with big ideas like global warming and sustainability.

You don’t have to talk to Jeff Johnson for very long to realize he’s the real deal a mountain biker surfer trail runner and sailor who translates his love of the great outdoors into brand experiences that appeal to the granola crowd as well as budding environmentalists. The company’s namesake energy bars are made with 70 percent organic ingredients but its events are 100 percent spot-on educating consumers without preaching to them about the impact of carbon emissions on the planet. Johnson who has been with Clif Bar since 2000 leads the team that creates these programs but is quick to acknowledge contributions from across the company. A team player he fosters an open dialogue among colleagues and turns their creative bursts into events with a green message.

Johnson was a major influence in Clif Bar’s latest effort the “2 Mile Challenge ” a 15-stop road show housed in a biodiesel bus touting the benefits of biking for short trips via interactive exhibits videos commuter bicycles and accessories. It’s a simple message and a call to action that appeals to dabblers as well as hard-core advocates. “We’re getting people to think about their energy choices ” Johnson says. Another example: Clif Bar’s “Save Our Snow” Winter Roadtrip in which a vegetable-oil powered environmentally friendly RV visits ski resorts throughout North America on a mission to inform and inspire skiers to help stop global warming. The best proof? Setting up shop amid the brown dirt at the bottom of previously snow-covered ski mountains.
Johnson is rethinking the Clif GreenNotes program which since 2005 has provided emerging artists funds to green their tours and inspired fans to protect the planet. “Now there is a lot of greening in the music industry and that is a wonderful thing but from a marketer’s standpoint we’re thinking about how to make it stand out in a sea of green music.”

The main thing he says is to stay authentic and connect with consumers at events. That’s why he’s on our team!

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