Sacked adman makes headlines with clown move

An image sent to the New Zealand Herald shows Thompson sitting alongside his support clown while...
An image sent to the New Zealand Herald shows Thompson sitting alongside his support clown while he talks to the people running the meeting. Photo: Supplied/NZ Herald
The antics of a New Zealand adman who hired a clown to be his support person while he was being fired have made worldwide headlines.

The New Zealand Herald revealed yesterday how the agency rep – who has since identified himself as Josh Thompson - took a clown to a meeting with management of FCB.

It is understood the clown made balloon animals and mimed crying during the meeting as Thompson was given his marching orders.

Thompson had been working as a copywriter at FCB, after starting employment there in April.

News of Thompson's decision to bring in an emotional support clown has now reached as far afield as the US, India, and the UK.

USA Today Post said Thompson made sure he "had the last laugh" at the meeting, while DNA India labelled it "a bizarre but innovative move".

His story also ended up in The Telegraph and Time, and other publications.

The Sun called Thompson a "cheeky advertising exec", while the New York Post said "a support dog just wasn't going to cut it".

New York Times reporter Liam Stack shared the news on Twitter, with the line "meanwhile in New Zealand".

Others shared their thoughts on social media.

Boston writer Tanya Edwards tweeted: "A hero walks among us".

Another person suggested a different approach: "I'd ask him to make dicks out of balloons, though, and throw them at whoever is there on the opposite side of the table."

Thompson - who has created social media accounts under the name Josh Jack, a budding comedian - told the Herald he had since returned to Australia.

He has secured a new job with DDB and is expected to start in the role next week.

In an interview on MediaWorks, Thompson admitted the choice of his support person had been a "touch unusual".

He called on the services of a clown - whom he has dubbed Joe - after getting an email earlier in the week telling him "bad news, we're having a meeting to discuss your role".

"I thought it's either a promotion or worse. I thought it's best to bring in a professional and so I paid $200 and hired a clown," he told MediaWorks.

"I mean I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running."

Thompson said the clown made several animals out of balloons, including a unicorn and a poodle.


Former 'redundant' staff at Uni of Otago- and those who still might get the boot take note. Bring in the clowns to deal with the clowns. Thompson is so innnotative and original he is certainly worthy of another job. Good on him.

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter