Getting to Know… FCB’s Eli Ferrara

FCB Canada announced last week that Eli Ferrara has been named vice-president, creative innovation, reporting to chief creative officer Nancy Crimi-Lamanna.

It’s a new role at the agency, one where Ferrara has been tasked with creating a better understanding of the latest platforms and technologies—such as the metaverse and gaming—and how to best use them to tackle client business needs.

“At FCB, we recognize how marrying creativity with data and technology can lead to better creative solutions for our clients,” said Crimi-Lamanna. “[Eli] combines functional and operational knowledge with thorough analysis of industry, technology, and customer trends and competitive analysis. He’s already been behind several of our highly awarded and internationally recognized campaigns.”

Before taking this position, Ferrara was director, product, partnerships, and emerging technologies at FCB/Six, with projects in his portfolio including “LifeStyles’ Publicly Traded” platform, which used live STI search data to drive inverse pricing for LifeStyles condoms, and Chicago Public Library and Walmart’s “Bedtime Stories,” which used AR technology to connect children with incarcerated parents.

Those are some of the key professional facts about Ferrara, but we also asked if he’d answer some of our Getting to Know questions. Here’s what he told us:

Favourite book of all time and why? The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli. It’s a book about physics, but it’s really about innovation. The book highlights long-standing theories which are now proving to be incorrect, shattering our perception of reality.

Are you a morning person? What time do you set your alarm for? What time do you actually get up? I am a night owl, it’s hard to get anything out of me first thing in the morning. I normally get out of bed at 7:45. But my alarm is set for 7:00.

Movie you love that almost nobody else likes? Jaws: The Revenge. It has all the best elements. Sharks and vengeance.

Do you have kids: What are their names? No but I have one niece and one nephew. Would you like to see the 3,800 pictures I have of them on my phone? They are a pretty big deal in my life.

Most important person in your professional life that you do not work with or for? I have to cheat on this question a bit, since we technically still work together. John Fung is VP strategy at FCB/Six in Toronto. He is the one who first brought me into this industry and has been a mentor to me ever since. He’s one of the best strategists I have ever worked with, and is a constant source of inspiration for me.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I played drums in a heavy rock band for many years, and once I got my first taste of playing in Toronto clubs, in front of live audiences, I felt like I found my calling. As I got older and went to university, my priorities shifted. Sometimes I still get the feeling of performing in front of those live audiences when I’m presenting work to clients. So maybe it all worked out in the end?

Where were you born and do you think it’s an important part of who you are? I was born in Richmond Hill, Ont. My father immigrated to Canada from Sicily, and my mother is Ukrainian/British. I love Canada and I think the opportunities here are what helped shape me as a person as well as my career.

Nicest thing a coworker has said to you? I get a lot of compliments on my shoes. I designed them. See my picture for reference.

Favourite thing about this industry? I love advertising because the opportunities for big ideas feel endless. And it’s constantly evolving, as technology and trends change, we need to keep our finger on the pulse to stay relevant and do the best work we can for our clients.

Least favourite thing about this industry? Seeing redundant ideas. Sometimes award-winning work is treated as a model to copy, rather than a model to learn from and build upon. We should be thinking about what comes next, not looking backwards.

David Brown