Norwegian agency TRY is a consistent favourite with Epica Awards jurors, not least for the humour it often injects into its work. But the wit doesn’t end with TV ads: it has proved skilled in the digital domain too, with campaigns that are clever rather then over-complex. By the way, the agency’s name is not a summary of its philosophy: it was founded by copywriter Kjetil Try (and art director Einar Fjøsne) in 1988.
Unsurprisingly, TRY has been our Independent Agency of the Year several times over. We decided to find out what’s new by firing off a few questions to executive creative director Egil Pay.
TRY was last in the Epica Book in 2017. What’s changed for the agency since then?
TRY has for the past couple of years gone from being an ad agency to a full communication house. It is now much easier for us to do strong 360° campaigns, which is important in 2020.
You are once again our Independent Agency of the Year. What are the benefits of remaining independent?
We make our own decisions, which makes us quicker and more agile.
The guy from the REMA 1000 spots has been in two or three ads now. Has he become a minor celebrity? And, more seriously, do humorous TV ads like this one still have the same impact on viewers?
The guy in the REMA spots is an actor from another country, so he hasn’t really become famous, but the ads are super popular in Norway. The impact of TV ads has decreased some, but by thinking of other campaign elements early, we can build campaigns that give us the same impact. That is one of the reasons we now are a communication house: it is easier to build these kind of campaigns.
I’ve noticed that with the campaigns Run the World and The Animal’s Own Emergency Number, for example, the agency has become involved in social responsibility issues. Was this a conscious decision or a natural evolution?
I would say this is more of a natural evolution. Creatives naturally think more about social responsibility, and our clients give us more briefs in that direction.
The last time we wrote about TRY, social networks and influencers were only just coming to the fore. How has their dominance affected the work you do?
They are now a natural part of big campaigns. They are a nice tool to get the message through.
What media trends in Norway have you had to adapt to in order to stay on top of your game?
The media landscape is constantly changing, so it is really important to stay alert and react. Quickly.
This article appears in the Epica Book 33, to be published in September 2020 and featuring all the winners and selected high-scoring entries from the previous year's awards.