It’s a truth universally acknowledged - the luxury market is just for the posh, the elite, the filthy rich. Or is it? Meet Josh Warner, owner of Blink Agency, who is shifting perceptions of what luxury means to people in 2018 through experiential marketing, particularly in the automotive industry. You may have heard of a few of his clients: “Rolls Royce...Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley, McLaren”, to name a few. I caught up with him to hear about his career to date, his love of cars and his thoughts on collaborative work.
Assessing the environment
“It’s quite funny, I did a degree in property which came to an end in 2008 just as the recession hit. So all of my friends that graduated the year before were all being made redundant. I studied at the Royal Agricultural College, one of the best places for it. They all went off to work for Savills, Lloyd Frank, the likes, a lot of them came here into town, and then six months later they were all being made redundant. The world crashed, so to speak. So, I was like, "I'm probably not going to do that, then."”
Having left [College], I was like, "Cool. What can I do?" The world is in turmoil, and I've always been a petrol head, cars to me have always been a big thing, so I thought why not go see if I can do something with cars for a couple of years. I was still young, I had nothing to lose.”
Old fashioned techniques
“So I went completely old school on it; I sent out a load of handwritten letters. I thought; I need to try to get somebody's attention, because nobody was hiring. The world didn't have any money, but there were jobs out there, there were if you looked properly and looked hard enough. I suppose it was my way of saying, "Look, here I am. I've just graduated, I need a job, I want a job, I'm willing to learn. I don't know your world, but give me a chance," kind of thing. I was twenty-one, I didn't have any money, and I had nothing to lose.”
It was off the back of this that Josh was personally offered a job at Gumball 3000, the huge super car rally, by its owner, Maximillion Cooper. A job that changed the course of his career forever.
“I learnt so much from it, an amazing experience. I laughed, I cried, I partied, every single emotion came out in leading up to and then including the rally, but from therein I knew what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to work in this experience lifestyle world, and provide experiences for people. I travelled the world from twenty-one to twenty-four, went to some amazing places, some amazing experiences, flew to America, I went on a huge Russian cargo plane, just things that will never happen again. Ended up in a hotel room being bundled by the Jackass lot. Scraping up David Hasselhoff's sick. Gumball was the start of my love for brands, shall we say, or representing a brand. Whilst yes, I own an agency now, I never consider myself as an agency. Whoever I work with, I always consider myself as part of that, very much part of that team or part of that brand, and I will talk about that brand as if I'm working for that brand.”
Driven by experience
It’s no word of a lie that the millennial market is driven by experiences, not things. “The only way we're going to change the perception is to get people behind the wheel of the car, so wherever we can, we'll get people behind the car. [We say to people] "Come on then, let's go for a drive." We're like, “Why not?" It's the only way you're going to engage people, lots of test drives, I try and get people to drive our cars as much as possible, just work with different people, artists, lots of artists too... We're working with Maddox Gallery, which has gone down really well. Just [working with] quirky people, different people. Like, Dizzee Rascal, I put him behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce last week. It’s about breaking stereotypes.
I had a meeting with someone the other day, essentially they're trying to sell a £300,000 stereo. So, how are you going to do that? The only way someone is going to buy that is if they experience it. You need to sit them down, you need to immerse them in that, you need to take every sense away from them so they can't see, all they can do is hear. They're not hot, they're not cold, they can't see, they can't touch. Everything. They need to be in darkened room and just hear, and then you might get them to buy it. You might convince them that this is the best thing in the world.”
Blink and you won’t miss it
Blink has grown since it began in 2016, now offers several services, including:
Blink Automotive Events “We support manufacturers with marketing and training events. Blink specialised in providing skilled, knowledgeable and dynamic pro drivers.”
Blink Content “We now have in house photography and videographers that produce predominantly automotive social media content.”
Blink Experiential Marketing “This is the core of the business... Working with brands to change perceptions & immerse customers in a brand experience through luxury lifestyle events.”
...And The Famous Last Words
Phrase You Wish Everyone Would Stop Using: ‘Hi Guys!’
Three Things You Need For Work: My phone, my sunglasses, and a set of car keys.
Obsessed With? Tom Sellers, he’s the bad boy of the chef world. We’re working together on a Rolls Royce project.
Where Can We Find Out More About You? LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Josh is also the co-owner of The Cotswold Clay Company and Automotive Editor for In The Country Magazine.