What has happened?

After various financial hardships including voluntary administrations and a drop in sales, Darrell Lea has relaunched their chocolate and confectionary brand into the Australian market with an adopted remake of the classic Yellow Pages “Not Happy Jan” TV spot. The ad is almost identical in nature, but used a revised tag line of “No worries Jan” to highlight that Darrell Lea’s chocolate “Makes it Better”.  Re-entering the market as a challenger brand needed a big idea according to Tim Stanform, Marketing Director Darrell Lea; “… it puts Darrell Lea back on the map and gives us the best launchpad for going up against established competitors. And this is just the beginning.”

Unfortunately post the campaign launch, Yellow Pages threatened legal action and the ad was pulled after less than a week on air. The response from Darrell Lea? A well-orchestrated apology which was picked up by all major news outlets across the country, trended on social media and generated the biggest search volume that “Darrell Lea” (and “Yellow Pages” / “Not happy Jan”) had in years.

The Media Store Take

Given the original Yellow Pages spot ran in the early 2000s, Darrell Lea has recognised the power of nostalgia, building on the positive sentiment of the “not happy Jan” tagline which is now iconic and a beloved part of the Australian vernacular. In contrast, much could be said about the copyright infringement & failure to seek permission from Sensis or the seemingly inefficient use of production budget given the ad was pulled within days of airing. However, the genius is perhaps that permission wasn’t sought to begin with and that the apology offered to Sensis coined “No Worries Sensis” perfectly encapsulates the brand ethos and the desired key message take out from the campaign. Consumer sentiment to date has been extremely positive toward Darrell Lea, many thanking them for the nostalgic flashback and others calling their stunt brave. All of which seems to have met the objective of re-launching the brand back in market and into the minds of Australians. But will the stunt and the earned media coverage publications be enough? The true measure of success will be the sales results to follow.

Inan Uzunoglu