Danish advertising maestros Triple Trouble believe in bold and creative advertising. The trio have worked with the likes of Converse, Volkswagen, and the WWF, as well as producing their own brand inventions.
Andreas Arnaa, Christina Anaya, and Jesper Sichlau all took very different routes to the advertising industry, but it's their unique skill set which they believe sets them apart.
We spoke to them about their varied career paths, working in a team of three and their bonding over beer pong.
Briefly describe to us your career paths up to now
Andreas: As a child, I had a lot of interests, and I dreamt about being everything from being an estate agent to a journalist. The journalist dream was the most persistent, but I slowly became aware of the power of creativity. I began spending more time on movies and photography, and in 2009 I saw a couple of campaigns created by students from DMJX: Kreativ Kommunikation. From that moment, it was clear to me that my future was in advertising.
In 2011, I was admitted to Film and Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen, but I didn't I get the opportunity to be as creative as I wanted to. After a year and a half, I dropped out, and in 2014 I got into Creative Communication, and I definitely feel that I'm on the right track.
"It was an amazing way to think up ideas and make them a reality."
Christina: Well, after a very brief stab at modelling, I became a fashion and portrait photographer. I was drawn to the industry because it was an amazing way to think up ideas and make them a reality. I got to create something beautiful that, at first, only existed in my mind.
But after five years of working for clients, I felt more and more like “the technician” and less and less like the main creative force. That’s why I applied to Creative Communication, and luckily I managed to land one of those 24 coveted spots in 2014.
For me, advertising has opened an entirely new world of endless creative possibilities. It’s the ideal place to completely unleash your craziness since wonderful weirdoes always surround you.
Jesper: I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker ever since I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring back in 2001. So, after attending the European Film College to learn the basics, I started working odd jobs in the business while making short films in my spare time.
"Advertising has opened an entire new world of endless creative possibilities."
But I never got to use all my creativity and resourcefulness, because I was stuck doing practical stuff. Something had to change, and I realised I needed to go back to school. Advertising made a lot of sense because it’s all about getting great ideas and making them look good. And more importantly, it’s about communication much like narrative storytelling.
And so, that's when I met these two troublemakers and the rest as they say - is history (or it will be in the future at least).
How did you guys become Triple Trouble?
We have a common knowledge and love for photography and film. During our first year in school, we were teamed up on a photography course. It was only a single day, but everything clicked (get it?) and we had the best time. After that, we worked on more and more projects together, and we noticed how we elevated and complemented each other. And our common passion for beer pong pretty much cemented things.
"We strategise, we get ideas, we write, we art direct, we photograph, we film, we edit and we kick ass at beer pong. That’s a pretty sweet deal."
The thing was that the school kept telling us we had to be in teams of two, so things didn’t look very promising. We tried all three combinations as a team of two, and it worked, but it was never quite as good as when we all would be together. Then after a particularly successful project, we realised: it's our life and our career. If we want to do it this way, why the heck shouldn't we? So we convinced our headmaster to let us go for it, and we’ve never looked back.
What’s it like working in a team of three?
Put simply: Nobody makes good stuff all the time, but the benefit of being three is that the percentage of the quality idea gets higher, because of sheer quantity. Think of it as a colour spectrum consisting of three different colours. Between us, we can produce a much wider palette than just two. And we're enough alike to easily understand each other and different enough to add a new perspective and push our ideas further.
The benefit of being three is that the percentage of quality idea gets higher."
Plus, the skill sets we’ve combined, make us like a micro agency. We strategise, we get ideas, we write, we art direct, we photograph, we film, we edit and we kick ass at beer pong. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
The bad things about being three in a team are the fact that agencies are less likely to hire us as a team because it’s three salaries instead of two. But the thing is that we’re not three people doing a two-person job. We’re three people doing a three-person job.
What’s your best piece of work and why?
Nobody can answer that. Literally. We went to London in the fall to get book crits from some of the best ad agencies in London, and what some thought we should get rid of, others thought were our best work. This showed us how important it is to follow your gut feeling and not worry too much about what others might like.
"If you enjoy what you do it will show in the end result."
One of our own favourites is a freelance job we did for MediaCom Beyond Advertising during our Summer vacation. The brief was to promote the fact that the Volkswagen Up! could now be bought 100% online as the first car in Europe. It was our first project for a real client, which in itself is enough for us to feel proud. The fact that it, at least for Danish standards, went pretty viral, only makes us feel even prouder.
Another favourite project is our own invention of an alcohol brand called SHOT, which shows off our twisted sense of humour.
You’ve won a few awards, any tips for others?
Perhaps the best tip is from our teacher Claire McNally that used to end all lectures with the sentence: "Just have fun with it, guys". There's no point in putting a lot of time into it if you don't enjoy it. If you enjoy what you do it will show in the end result. You never know what the judges will like. You can never please everyone, so at least do something that YOU like.
And don’t spend all your time brainstorming and leave no time for execution. Eventually, you need to just decide and start evolving your idea. An idea that’s a 6, can easily be turned into an 8 or 9, if you just commit 100 %. And finally, remember to be fucking bold and not worry too much about making something realistic for the brand. You’re trying to impress fellow creatives. Not clients.
If you could work with any brand in the world - who would it be?
We would probably have said Volkswagen because they have a long history of great ads, but we just did something for them, so we have to think of a new one. But it's not really the brand that makes cool ads, it's the creative minds. And since we're supposed to be those, we should be able to make cool ads no matter what brand we work for. But a bold brand is always the best. A brand that dares take risks usually makes the most memorable ads.
What's the best piece of advice you have been given?
Andreas: It may sound absurd, but I'd rather talk about my best reaction to a piece of advice. The advice was to complete the Film and Media course that I was doing. My whole family (including an aunt who works in advertising) told me that it would be a good idea to finish the bachelor.
By ignoring their advice, I felt how amazing it is to be true to yourself and your passion instead of believing that other people know what's best for you. I was deciding for myself. It made it even clearer to me, how much I wanted to be creative, and that I had to invest all my energy in chasing my dream. It still gives me a boost, when I think about it.
"A brand that dares take risks usually makes the most memorable ads."
Christina: “Never be afraid of a blank page”. As a copywriter, that empty surface can be absolutely terrifying. I’ve learned to not worry about nailing it right away. Just fill that page with anything. And if you got nothing, then write: I’ve got nothing. I don’t know what to write. I should write something. What will I have for dinner tonight? Lasagne sounds good. Or maybe burritos. “Burritos” - that’s a funny word.
Just fill that ghostly sheet and get your mind started.
Jesper: Like ever? I don't really remember. Over the years I've gotten a lot of obvious pieces of advice, which is like pointing to a man that has just been hit by a car and say: "Look to both sides before crossing the road"... no shit. But "Have fun with it" is probably the one that has stuck with me the longest.
If you could share a desk with anyone from the past, present or future, who would it be?
Andreas: If I could choose to share a desk with whoever I want, I would say Salvador Hampton. Who's that? Well, he’s from the future, so you don't know him, but he's awesome.
And now for the serious answer: Well, nowadays most agencies seem to have height adjustable tables, so I would basically just prefer to share a desk with someone who wants to sit down and stand up at the exact same time as I do.
"Have fun with it."
Christina: If I could share a desk with anyone I think I would be Mel Brooks, because of his wildly untamed and entertaining, creative mind. I’m pretty sure he’d keep me on my toes. Or Agatha Christie. She is one of my favourite writers. (I know, I’m old-school) I just love her intelligent way of playing with expectations and unanswered questions, and I always take great pride in keeping my little grey cells sharp.
Jesper: I would also like to share a desk with someone from the future. Then I would be getting all sorts of future insights. That would be extremely helpful. I would probably talk sports results with this guy. Let’s just call him Biff.
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