The man with the van: on the road with Johnnie Jackson


Many Boxing Days ago, Johnnie Jackson was catching up with his mate Phil, when he suggested Johnnie apply for a position at his work selling paint. With a background transporting and selling everything from furniture to spa equipment, Johnnie certainly had the sales experience, only problem was he knew nothing about paint. Phil assured him this wouldn’t be an issue as long as he was comfortable talking to people, and so Johnny applied for the position and began delivering BASF’s Glasurit automotive paints.

Now almost 14 years later, Johnnie , affectionally known to his colleagues as the ‘man with a van’, says he still uses the same approach to selling paint that he did all those years ago when he was a novice in the industry.  “I think that approach- not knowing about paint- worked really well for me because I couldn't tell a painter what he needs, instead he told me what he wanted, so I wasn’t trying to sell them something I was just trying to give them something that they wanted.”

Johnnie shows this respect to everyone he meets, and knows the names and stories of all of his customers and their staff. “I have 30 odd customers that I see over a period of three days, then the cycle starts again. I treat them as friends as well, I guess that comradery works really well and I feel very comfortable with them”.

While taking orders, checking supplies and catching up on the day’s news, Johnnie also tries to expand his language skills when he visits various sites. “I try and learn a little bit of a language, in Rarotongan I can say 'hello'… I try and speak a little bit of Samoan.” While these lessons help strengthen his relationships with his clients, Johnnie laughs as he admits not everyone is supportive. “My mum -who is a New Zealand Maori- always says to me ‘Boy, what about your Te reo (the native Maori language), you should be learning’, and I say, “I do mum, I try”.

When he’s not sitting behind the wheel delivering Glasurit products, you can likely find Johnnie sitting behind his bass guitar. A talented, self- taught musician, Johnny’s musical skills have enabled him to collaborate with influential New Zealand artists and bands, including Graham Brazier from Hello Sailor and Jordan Luck from The Exponents. While Johnnie may have played at the Hammersmith Odeon, a prestigious London music venue that has hosted the likes of The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, his most important gig is still to come- the BASF Auckland 2018 Christmas party!


While trading in life on the road with a band, for life on the road with Glasurit has been a big change, it’s one Johnnie says has been a positive one. “I’ve always been one of those people who like structure, and BASF as a company they have structure and that works really well for me. Being a big corporation, they look after you. I’m very loyal to BASF, I’m very loyal to Glasruit paints."


Looking to the future, Johnnie hopes to use his current role to learn more about business development at BASF. Outside of work he hopes to combine his people and musical skills to become a marriage celebrant and looks forward to finishing his family glamping site in the far north of New Zealand.