rogue

Darrell Lea took "Not happy, Jan." And Yellow Pages aren't happy about it either.

The year was 2000. Many of us were in primary school, some of us were teenagers, and most of us were proudly wearing glittery butterfly clips in our hair each day.

Our lives were fine.

Little did we know they were about to be enriched by possibly the greatest line of dialogue since Shakespeare.

A 30-second commercial for the Yellow Pages, from the dark time when people used landlines, bounced from a trampoline without safety nets into our lives and changed them for the better.

All because of an aggrieved boss and a forgetful woman named Jan who was so afraid of being reprimanded she quite literally ran from her office and down the street. 

Watch Jan in a new Darrell Lea ad below. Post continues after.

Who is Jan? Why is Jan? Has Jan’s boss been reported to HR for being straight-up terrifying?

The details are irrelevant. All we know is Jan’s been the source of every inconvenience we’ve ever had for almost two decades thanks to three words, one sentiment, and one hell of a catchphrase:

“Not happy, Jan.”

Poetry.

It became the phrase that defined our interactions with the grown-ups of our youth, from teachers, to parents, to camp instructors, to that weird family friend who was always sat at the kids’ table.

We’d do our best to conceal our eyerolls when an ~adult~ casually let a “Not happy, Jan” rip… until it happened to us.

We grew older, more bitter, and more annoyed by the slightest inconvenience. We adopted the phrase ourselves.

“Not happy Jan” has entered our vernacular so deeply it’s become near-impossible not to utter whenever we’re even close to “not happy” about well, anything.

It’s as though it falls from our lips before we can stop it, like some sort of tic.

Someone ate the last corn chip? Not happy, Jan. Someone left stray noodles in the sink? Not happy, Jan. Someone wore your top and left fake tan stains on it? You get it.

We honestly think the ad has something to do with the fact that you rarely meet anyone called Jan nowadays.

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(Seriously, hands up if your name is Jan. See? No one).

But, while many of us have been happily going about our lives, being unhappy at Jan, confectionery company Darrell Lea did something.

Something big.

They took the boss who was unhappy with Jan and turned her into a boss who is not worried about Jan’s f*ck up.

Yeah. It was weird for us.

The company’s latest commercial for their very delicious new range features the grumpy boss character played by the same actress, Deborah Kennedy (who actually came up with the iconic line all those years ago), but instead of screaming at Jan as she bolts down the street, she calls out, “No worries, Jan.”

Watch the original commercial below. Post continues after. 

A clever take, we’ll admit, but to say it threw us into an existential crisis upon watching it for the first time would be an understatement.

We’ve been mad at Jan for precisely our whole lives, Darrell Lea, are you seriously telling us to simply… stop?

On a more serious note, the company has actually landed themselves in hot water over the whole Jan debacle.

The company is cancelling the short-lived campaign after it and TV networks were slapped with a cease and desist by Sensis, who claim they were “shocked” to see Jan popping up in ads that weren’t going to be followed by the Chicken Tonight jingle.

Yellow Pages’ executive general manager James Ciuffetelli told Mamamia in a statement it was in “total shock” to see its “beloved character Jan” being used by Darrell Lea.

“We are flattered that Darrell Lea has used our iconic Yellow Pages advertising, featuring ‘Not Happy Jan’. However, it has been used without our consultation or approval,” Mr Ciuffetelli said.

“By imitating our ad, we believe it is misleading to consumers. It’s clear on social media that a number of people believe Yellow Pages has endorsed this campaign, which is not the case.”

Responding to the backlash, Darrell Lea released a statement in defence of the ad, stating it had “wanted to celebrate a classic Australian television ad” and that the response from social media had been “extremely positive”, including Sensis’ own social media pages, which had posted their support of it in since-deleted posts yesterday, according to Darrel Lea.

“We are disappointed that today we were issued with a cease and desist letter from Sensis over our latest television ad,” the statement read.

“In the spirit of Darrell Lea ‘Makes It Better’, we will be cancelling the ads and sending a big box of chocolate their way.”

It sounds like Sensis were not happy… Jan.

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