Yellow gives creative and media account to WPP’s White Grey

‘Yellow’ – the brand formerly known as Yellow Pages – has appointed WPP’s White Grey in Melbourne to handle both its creative and media duties.

Earlier this year, Yellow’s parent company Sensis was embroiled in a battle with Darrel Lea over the chocolate brand’s advertising and the use of the iconic ‘Jan’ character.

Yellow Pages’ early 2000s advertising featured an office worker, Jan, who forgot to get her business into the directory in time. As she ran to escape the building, and evade the consequences of her inaction, her boss leaned out the window and bellowed: “Not happy, Jan”. The phrase then entered popular culture.

This year, Darrel Lea then created an ad which paid homage to the iconic campaign. Deborah Kennedy reprised her role as the grumpy boss, but this time the character was placated by eating chocolate. Leaning out the window in the 2019 Darrel Lea iteration, she exclaimed: “No worries, Jan”.

Sensis, however, was less than impressed, and issued a cease and desist letter, claiming Darrel Lea was “cheapening” an icon. Following the legal threats, Darrel Lea pulled the campaign, which had been created by Akkomplice.

References to Jan and the spat, however, were not over, with Sensis then launching a national campaign showing how important Yellow is to small businesses.

The press release for the campaign declared “There’s not a Jan in sight in Yellow’s latest national advertising campaign”. The ‘Yellow!’ campaign was created by Big Red.

Prior to White Grey’s appointment, announced today, Yellow had been working with creative agency Big Red, with media being undertaken by independent Hatched Media.

White Grey’s appointment is effective immediately.

The agency’s national managing director, Katie Firth, said the team was excited to work with an iconic brand.

“Yellow has been a part of Australian homes and businesses for the past 40 years. From their trusty books, to their helpful website or handy app, we’ve grown up with Yellow Pages. This is a super win for White Grey, and we are looking forward to working with Yellow to develop a unified approach across creative, brand, technology and media,” she said.

Firth is excited to start working with Yellow 

James Ciueffetellli, executive general manager for Yellow, added: “We are delighted to partner with White Grey who are taking over managing both media and creative, as we continue to champion Australia’s small businesses and help them grow.”

White Grey said the account would be led by group account director Alice Tschuchnigg, and supported by the agency’s core management team, including head of strategy Nathan Rogers, and creative duo Garret Fitzgerald and Joe Hill.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.