The Kiwi adman who brought a clown to a redundancy meeting says his soon-to-be ex-bosses saw the "humorous side" of his bizarre choice of support person.
The agency rep – who has since identified himself as Josh Thompson - took a clown to a meeting with management of FCB.
At the time he was a copywriter at FCB New Zealand; a position he had held since April.
The New Zealand Herald was sent a picture of a clown in the meeting - held in a glass-walled office - along with Thompson.
The clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting, and mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to the staffer.
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.
And in an interview on MediaWorks, Thompson admitted that the choice of his support person had been a "touch unusual".
He called on the services of a clown - who 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.
"It was rather noisy him making balloon animals so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time," he said.
He also revealed he had spent $200 on the services of the clown.
"Basically he was, I assume, one of the best clowns in Auckland - they were getting a free service, they were also getting the entertainment from Joe the Clown."
A spokesperson for FCB told the Herald the agency has a policy of not commenting on individual employment matters out of respect for those involved.
In an email title "Coulrophobia" (the fear of clowns), the spokesperson did, however, say it was up there among the weirdest stories she had ever been contacted about.
The latest restructure at FCB follows on from job cuts at the agency after the loss of the Vodafone ad account.
Clown gives his side of the story
The clown hired as a support person said he was careful not to be "offensive" while making balloon animals for the bosses.
Auckland actor and freelance videographer Joseph Brosnahan, 26, works as a clown for hire through various children's party businesses on the weekend.
He said he was approached by one employer, Amazing Kids Parties, for a "very unusual request" last month.
"They said 'Feel free to say no to this because it's pretty out there but there's this guy who's apparently got word that he's going to be fired and he's allowed to bring a support person with him," Brosnahan said.
"And as a joke he'd like to bring in a clown. Would you be up for doing that?' And I just thought that sounded so hilarious I couldn't resist."
Brosnahan Thompson met him outside advertising agency FCB New Zealand in Freemans Bay in central Auckland on August 20.
He arrived in his car with his clown costume in a bag. Thompson let him into the building where he changed into the costume in a bathroom before entering the meeting.
There was no pre-planning before the meeting and Brosnahan said, despite his presence, the employers kept straight faces.
"They weren't playing around with it and meanwhile I was just sitting there in a clown costume," Brosnahan said.
"Like I have no idea how I am supposed to appropriately respond to this. It's like a guy is getting fired and that's a bit tragic but I'm just here in a clown costume so you can't expect me to be serious about that.
"I just kind of went with the flow and did some of my balloon twisting and a few animals for them.
"It's my specialty. I asked 'do you want me to make you an animal perhaps? Here you go, there's a unicorn for you if you like'."
Brosnahan said the redundancy meeting only took 20 minutes, and for the $200 charged, was good value compared to 90 minute kids parties "that can be a lot of energy playing games".
"The employers didn't seem to have much of a reaction to be honest. The were like 'oh you've brought a clown with ya, ok'. But then it just carried on. They were taking the thing seriously 'we're very sorry we have to let you go'.
"I was trying to make sure that whatever I did was, maybe be funny, but don't do anything offensive."
Brosnahan says most of his family and friends do not know he was Joe the Clown in the news.
However, Brosnahan's aunt did ring his father to see if it was him after a TV news piece.
"Not too many other clowns are going to redundancy meetings so I guess it stuck out to them," he says.
The part-time clown also said he has not been in touch with Thompson since the meeting.
"I just politely said farewell to him and wished him all the best with trying to find a new job, and just left it at that."