'There's nothing like the feeling of making a real difference in the world': Beyond the Brief with Fabrizia Cannalonga, Innocean USA

Fabrizia Cannalonga, Innocean USA

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? The Drum is now interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

With over 20 years in the industry, Fabrizia Cannalonga has served as the vice president of experiential marketing for Innocean USA for the last five years. She is responsible for leading a department of more than 20 people to deliver creative, operational, and logistical execution of experiential programs, over 100 auto shows, dealer and sales incentive initiatives and launches for Hyundai Motor America and Genesis Motors.

As a part of the leadership team, she works to improve the agency, to streamline work, to increase productivity and to continue to develop the agency’s vision.

In addition to her marketing work, she has committed herself to giving back to the community through charity. She has volunteered at the Downtown Women’s Center, working to alleviate poverty, in Los Angeles, California, as well as work with the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in Costa Mesa, California.

Cannalonga’s passion for her agency work, coupled with her charitable involvement, and time with her family, shows that she is living beyond the brief.

Your favorite campaign (that isn’t yours) and why?

Favorite campaign was Dos Equis: Most Interesting Man in the World. This campaign was pulled off in an unorthodox manner, successfully and brilliantly breaking the cliché of bro humor in beer advertising. Lasted nearly a decade and got a lot of mileage, as it made memorable impressions and in a very simple manner.

If you weren’t in advertising, what would you be doing?

If I were in a different field I would be involved in philanthropy. I have spent years working [and] volunteering with organizations that support those who struggle to help themselves, are disenfranchised, or simply were not given the opportunities I have been blessed to enjoy. But my current volunteer work is as time permits, and I would love to do this full time. It's an area that can both be heartbreaking and inspiring. There's nothing like the feeling [of] making a real difference in the world and life of others.

What keeps you sane in this industry? What keeps you driven to do great work?

What has kept me sane in this business has varied from time to time. Currently, what keeps me sane is coming home to my toddler. He has allowed me to see the world through a different lens. Having this new perspective has changed the way I approach challenges and the way I solve problems. More than anything, I want to make him proud someday, and he drives my thirst to succeed in all areas of life, especially work.

What’s a hobby that you love or would like to start?

I love paddle boarding. I had to take a break when I gave birth to my beautiful son until he was old enough to put on a board. I enrolled him in swim lessons at three months and now at two years I have started getting him used to paddling with me on the Dana Point Harbor. Luckily, he loves it, and for me it's not only an opportunity to get a core workout, but also to zone out and remain focused on the moment but to get a dose of Vitamin D well. I love that I can now share this with my son.

Where was the last place you traveled to? What did you learn from that trip?

Spain. I've been there several times but on my last trip I went solo and made friends that have remained friends across the continent. Some of the friendliest and welcoming people I've met, who really know how to enjoy life. I would fully subscribe to eating late dinners, being out enjoying life until 2 a.m. and heading into work around 11 a.m. the next day — and still delivering amazing work. In America, we struggle with life work balance. We could learn something from the Spaniards.

What is an art that you cannot live without?

Music, of all kinds. There's nothing like music that can have such a tremendous effect on my soul and moods. I need it in the background at all times, and have the deepest respect for all of the talented people trying to get their art heard by the masses.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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Haley Velasco

Haley Velasco is a writer based in Chicago, IL, who has a background in PR for a sports media company and has reported on a variety of topics, including sports, opinion, politics and celebrity news. Based in the Windy City, she covers industry happenings in the Midwest and throughout North America. She has been reporting for The Drum since May 2016.

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