Copywriter Who Scored a Job at McCann by Posing as Fearless Girl Talks Breaking Into Advertising

'Nothing worth having comes without risk'

Jade Delaney first received a month-long placement in May. McCann Bristol
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Never underestimate the value of a first impression.

Jade Delaney, the copywriter and aspiring agency creative who scored an enviable share of earned media when she showed up at the offices of McCann Bristol dressed as Fearless Girl, is now a full-time employee at the IPG agency.

Her advice to others looking to make the same sort of splash? Take your ideas and run with them—fearlessly.

With the help of a professional makeup artist, the Gloucester University grad dressed herself from head to toe in gold paint one day in May before messaging managing director Andy Reid and creative director Jon Elsom on LinkedIn to let them know she would soon appear at their front door to recreate the statue’s iconic, defiant pose.

Her demand was bold and succinct: I want a placement.

As Reid told Adweek at the time, “Jade has been brave enough to stand out from the crowd, which is a fantastic trait for anyone starting a career in advertising.” The agency immediately offered her a month-long paid placement, or the U.K. equivalent of a trial run.

After an extension of that placement, management decided to hire her as a junior conceptual creative. The announcement went out Monday.

“Jade has been great since she arrived, she has taken it all in her stride, [and] just last week she was presenting a client case study in a new business meeting,” said Reid.

Delaney called her experience to date “an unbelievable couple of months,” adding that she chose the agency in particular because she admired its work: “To me it seemed like the right fit, and luckily, it was for them as well.”

The question follows: how have Delaney and her new employer dealt with her moment of viral fame?

The newly minted creative told Adweek she had no idea the stunt would attract so much attention. “I didn’t expect it to catch as much wind as it did,” she said, though of course she also knew that “it wasn’t going to be the normal introduction to an ad agency.”

In the two months since joining McCann, she has been most excited to begin working on campaigns for a range of clients and getting to know her new colleagues outside the office while learning about roles beyond the traditional copywriter and art director duo.

The experience has been very different than university. “People are teaching you so much, and now that you’re in an agency setting you have to learn a lot more [information] much more quickly,” she said.

Despite her fame, no one recognizes Delaney on the street today. That’s primarily because, as she put it, “I look quite different than when I was in gold.”

Her co-workers were also largely unfazed. “Yes, people knew about it, but they didn’t treat me any differently for having done the stunt,” she said, though she did note some good-natured teasing from co-workers who call her the “golden girl.”

Moving forward, Delaney is most excited about the opportunity to expand her creative skill set and “get to know everybody more” while “growing a presence at the agency.”

Her advice for other young creatives looking to break through is simple: be bold.

“Think outside the box,” she said. “It’s hard to be original, but if you have a good idea, it’s worth going for it. Don’t worry much about negative comments. Take a risk. Nothing worth having comes without risk.”

Delaney added, “If you have determination and grit, you can get what you want.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.