2 Minutes With … Chris Erb, Founder and MP of Tripleclix

'It's better to take risks and be flexible'

Chris heads Tripleclix, an agency specializing in the gaming industry. With over 30 years of experience, he's worked with Xbox, Bandai Namco, Krafton, Wizards of the Coast, Kellogg's, Ferrara, Nestle and many more.

Chris began his career in gaming at Wizards of the Coast, where he ran point on the Pokémon and Dungeons and Dragons portfolios, followed by a lengthy tenure as the VP of brand marketing for EA Sports. Prior to launching Tripleclix in 2014, he led marketing at Legendary Entertainment.

We spent two minutes with Chris to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Chris, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now. 

I was born in New York but spent most of my time growing up in Seattle. I live in Westlake Village now, just outside of Los Angeles. Before arriving here, I was in Florida for about a decade managing the EA Sports brand. 

How you first realized you were creative. 

I've been a baseball card collector since I was a kid. I'd go to card shows, buy a card from one table, walk four tables down, and sell it for a profit. I'd do something similar with candy, too—buy a bag for $5 and flip it for $20. I think this sort of hustle is part entrepreneurial and part creative. You're identifying and marketing a want or a need. 

A person you idolized creatively early on. 

My mom was my first role model. She was a big executive at a biotech company and I got to watch her grind. Learning what it meant to be an executive resonated with me. Phil Knight, Steve Jobs and Michael Eisner were all inspirational from a leadership standpoint. They were creative, entrepreneurial and led the way in their respective businesses. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I was a batboy for the Seattle Mariners in high school and college. The access to celebrity and talent and seeing how a big production like that works behind the curtains—it humanized everybody and everything.  Spending time with Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriguez, you realize they put their pants on one leg at a time. They just happen to be baseball pants. That experience made me realize how everyone has a different journey, but we all want to live a meaningful life. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire. 

I was in college for the rise of Pearl Jam. I had a friend who was in a band that opened for them. Having lived through that Seattle renaissance of music was really inspirational. From the visual side of things, Frank Kozik was a huge name at that time. We did a Tomb Raider collaboration with him. Tristan Eaton is our modern-day aspirational artist. He reminds me of the energy Kozik brought in the '80s, and Warhol before that.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I've fallen in love with The Rewatchables podcast. I get a kick out of listening to Bill Simmons and his team discuss fun films. From a show perspective, The Mandalorian, Ted Lasso and Better Call Saul. What's been really fun, though, is sitting with my 12-year-old twin boys and watching The Last of Us.

Your favorite fictional character.

Growing up, Daredevil. The Frank Miller Daredevil run is what made me fall in love with comics. I also loved the original Secret Wars run. From a franchise perspective, Star Wars. I saw Episode IV in theaters when I was 6 years old. I was consumed by it and had every toy. When I worked at Wizards of the Coast and launched the Star Wars TCG and roleplaying game, I had the opportunity to present to George Lucas. Such a full-circle moment and a true career highlight. 

Someone or something worth following on social media.

I try to focus on things that make me smile or laugh. Francis Bourgeois, the train guy, is a great example. 

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

Our OPI and Xbox collaboration. Women account for almost 48 percent of gamers, but are a very underserved audience. So, finding a brand like OPI that was open to authentically connecting their audience with their gaming passion was special.

A recent project you're proud of.

Our work on the 30th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering. I will always have a special place in my heart for it, having worked on the brand when I was at Wizards. We collaborated with Hot Pockets. In retail, you'll see five different Hot Pockets packages with a character that reflects each of the mana colors. Each of the packs also has in-game content for Magic Arena, the digital version of the game. We also did something unique with Trolli, creating a playable bag of candy.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I'm always inspired by Nike's artist collaborations. But when Heinz launched Shrek ketchup (Green ketchup)—that was an "a-ha," or 'holy cow" moment.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Chobani's "Unstuck" partnership. Launching a platform to help displaced refugees through job placement is aspirational. More brands need to drive cause marketing in bigger ways.   

Your main strength as a creative person.

Being unafraid of failure. We've all failed. It's better to take risks and be flexible and nimble. 

Your biggest weakness.

I tend to take on too many things.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I'd likely be some kind of failed creative or artist.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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