We’ve all had a “Jan” moment in the office and that’s what makes Yellow Pages’ iconic “Not happy Jan” ad arguably three of the most famous words ever written by an Australian advertising copywriter.
And if you want to feel really old, the campaign – that still hits the mark to this day – has just celebrated its 20th birthday.
The original ad was the work of Clems Melbourne and although the “not happy Jan” phrase soon entered the public’s lexicon as a polite way of not swearing at an incompetent staffer’s stuff-up, interestingly the spot never won any major awards at the time.
Back in 2000, the internet was yet to fully take-off and, yes, customers still looked up businesses in two whopping print directories dumped annually on your doorstep.
As a testimony to the legacy of the spot, over the weekend The Daily Telegraph tracked down the ad’s original ECD, Ant Shannon, who now runs his own creative agency, Shannon & Co.
Shannon told The Tele: “We knew the ad had to be highly entertaining and would somehow connect the viewer to the product emotionally.
“As a result we developed this concept of ‘scare tactics’, you know. What a disaster it would be if someone forgot to place an ad in the Yellow Pages. And then have to endure a whole year without it there. What that would mean.”
Shannon admitted the “Not happy Jan” line just happened from the creatives all playing around with the copy.
“We all thought it was hilarious,” Shannon said of the iconic line and, thankfully, the client agreed.
The rest, as they say, is Australian advertising folklore. Enjoy Jan’s momentous blunder one more time as a birthday treat.
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