REVEALED: The truth behind the iconic ‘Not Happy Jan’ advert – and how a twist of fate made it even more hilarious
- An iconic Australian Yellow Pages ad turned 20 after airing in September 2000
- The 30-second directory advertisement coined the famous line ‘Not Happy Jan’
- Actress Deborah Kennedy said the window jammed when she yelled the phrase
The iconic Yellow Pages ad that coined the phrase ‘Not Happy Jan’ has celebrated its 20-year- anniversary.
The advert first aired on Australian television in September 2000 and featured actress Deborah Kennedy playing an office boss.
In the ad, Kennedy asks her employee ‘Jan’ why an ad for their business had not been placed in the Yellow Pages.
The employee begins to run away from the office building before Kennedy sticks her head out of a partially opened window and screamed the famous line.
Kennedy said the 30-second clip had become even more comedic thanks to a ‘lucky accident’ that wasn’t part of the script, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The iconic Yellow Pages ad that coined the phrase ‘Not Happy Jan’ has celebrated its 20-year- anniversary
The advert first aired on Australian television in September 2000 and featured actress Deborah Kennedy (pictured) playing an office boss
The Australian actress explained the window was actually jammed.
‘It was a very old building in Surry Hills and it just happened that this window was this horrible thing that only opened a few inches.
‘But it certainly added to the humour and the frustration of the moment,’ Kennedy said.
She also explained how the advertisement became a cultural saying for Australians.
‘Like swearing at your kids without swearing. It just took on a life of its own … it was everywhere.’
Kennedy said she was often wrongly credited for coining the line but it was actually created by art director Tony Greenwood
The ad itself was developed by agency Clemenger BBDO and was overseen by creative director Ant Shannon.
Kennedy (pictured in Sydney in 2018) revealed the jammed window was a ‘lucky accident’ that wasn’t part of the script
Mr Shannon said Yellow Pages were known as a ‘creative client’ and their goal was to develop an ’emotional connection’ between Australians and the directory.
He explained how Mr Greenwood, from England, proposed the line in his thick Yorkshire accent and the production team thought it was hilarious.
Early audiences said the ad was only ‘mildly amusing’ and the team had ‘no idea’ the clip would become so famous.
Mr Shannon also attributed the cult success of ‘Not Happy Jan’ to its release at the end of the golden age of TV advertising.
He said ads before the interned ‘had to be talked about’ and would be discussed within families and groups of friends.
The production crew had ‘no idea’ the ad (pictured) would become a cultural sensation