Johnson Looks West

Technology Specialist Opens S.F. Operation
BOSTON–Philip Johnson Associates, a $27 million business-to-business and technology shop in Cambridge, Mass., has opened an office in San Francisco.
The six-person outpost is headed by Erik Petersen, who has joined from GSD&M’s defunct San Francisco office. He had been an account director there for about a year before that outpost closed last summer following its loss of Pacific Bell.
Petersen becomes general manager at Philip Johnson Associates and is responsible for new business development on the West Coast. “We’re looking to grow and not just be an extension of the home office,” Petersen said.
The key client in San Francisco is Perkin-Elmer’s PE Biosystems unit, which chose the agency for its $5 million ad account last summer [Adweek, July 27]. Billings on the business have nearly “tripled” in the past year, and Foster City, Calif.-based PE Biosystems now spends in the $12-15 million range, said agency chief executive Philip Johnson. The shop has been planning a West Coast launch since winning the account and expects to announce another client acquisition before the end of the month, Johnson said.
The new office, located at 1681 Folsom St., will also serve as a base for San Francisco creative talent working on some of the agency’s East Coast accounts, owing to the high volume of techno-savvy professionals available out West, he said.
Philip Johnson Associates has been one of New England’s fastest growing shops, boosting revenues and billings 67 percent to $4 million and $27 million, respectively, in the past year. It also recently purchased Ultra, a small Web development firm in Boston.