Lara Burniston

Lara Burniston

Managing Director at Circus
Los Angeles, United States

About me

As Managing Director of Circus Marketing in LA, I collaborate across our network of eight locations to develop impactful hyper-local ideas for multicultural audiences.

We are a strategic, creative, performance-inspired business that operates on an agile model for new economy global clients such as Netflix, Spotify and Uber, and multicultural audiences such as Northgate Markets, Dobel and Marcel.


I’m a hybrid marketer that’s driven by strategy, creative, operations, and results.

// Digital native with 15+ years of diverse marketing communications experience leading Fortune 500 brands at top creative agencies (R/GA, AKQA, Iris, Circus Marketing) across the U.S. and Brazil.

// Award-winning global branded content experiences leading Coke Happiness Factory in 2008 (Cannes Cyber Lion, Clio, One Show), Reckitt Benckiser for Clearasil and AwesomenessTV in 2013 (HUB) and Heineken and Warner Brothers in Brazil in 2017 (Gold in Innovation from Warner Brothers, Propmark Marketing Best).

// I am passionate about bringing teams from different backgrounds – be it departments, lines of businesses, or cultures – to construct via collaboration; this is where the magic happens!

// My career has been built on leading, nourishing + selling in amazing creative.

// I’m a lover of content + video; believer in being transparent, proactive, innovative but pragmatic; big believer in lessons-learned and developing people + talent.


Managing Director
Santa Monica, United States
March 2019 - Present (3 years 7 months)
Lead client partnerships, culture, operations and support new business in support of our vision, “emotions driven by data”.

Circus is an independent, global digital network that spans across eight locations to develop high-impact, consumer-first ideas for multicultural and new economy partners.
Managing Director
São Paulo , Brazil
January 2017 - May 2018 (1 year 4 months)
Clients: Kimberly-Clark (Neve, Scott), Heineken (Itubaína, Devassa, Baden Baden), Sanofi (Targifor), Bosch Power Tools (Latam)

– Led creative agency, during high digital growth and transition into 360 work, reporting to the Global CEO and COO
– Elevated the quality of our digital service offering into best-in-class, world-class content through initiatives like process optimizations, client education, internal trainings, vendor improvements and strategic staffing
– Developed a world-class content offering with over 43 film shoots, 15 photoshoots and 40 videos for posts in 1.5 years
– Led senior client relationships where the average contract term was 4 years and overall satisfaction score was 8.5 of 10
– Itubaína 360 campaign rich with video, outdoor, print and digital, “Imagination is Your Greatest Power,” received a Gold award in the Innovation category from Warner Brothers, as well as a Marketing Best award from Propmark, a Brazilian trade magazine; the case was also featured in an industry event in Rio for Meio e Mensagem
Director Of Client Services + Operations
São Paulo , Brazil
2012 - 2017 (5 years)
Clients: Kimberly-Clark (Neve, Scott), Heineken (Itubaína, Devassa, Baden Baden), Sanofi (Targifor), Coty (Risque), Mondelez (Belvita)

– Transferred by our Iris NYC office to bring my deep knowledge of digital and Iris culture to a company acquired by the network in São Paulo
– Increased operational efficiencies through tactics like resource allocation, freelance management, collaboration process, to remove barriers of driving great creative product
– Integrated new agency offerings of media and BI, bringing together various cross-disciplinary teams to drive insightful driven strategy and creative that resulted in differentiated content and consistently record-breaking results for clients
– Aside from improving the quality of our creative product, predominantly in video and social, I led the agency to be 70% digitally based with 7 digital fee clients
– Two amazing campaigns for Neve, Metaphors and Metade de Nos, are recognized across the marketing community for its boldness and marketing effectiveness in its message and considered to be the most successful video campaigns in Kimberly-Clark in Brazil, recognized by its President and Facebook as Best in Class (Metaphors)
– Targifor ‘Vitality Theives’ in a genre and tone that was so authentic and refreshing in the pharma segment that it became so successful in digital and concept testing, that it influenced the offline campaign and helped raise sales
Account Director
London, United Kingdom
2010 - 2012 (2 years)
Clients: (J&J) Carefree, Stayfree, o.b., Neosporin, Aveeno, (Diageo) Baileys Latin America, MoneyGram

– Grew J&J business from one brand to three brands by 600% within six months and another 600% was estimated for 2012
– Strategic oversight and account management, including annual brand planning
– Social media strategy & oversight of content and process, including Facebook apps & crisis communications
– Media campaigns - creative & media planning, including Test & Learn programs and search, KPI & metrics assessment
– Website redesigns, including campaign ideation, strategy and execution, as well as email programs & sponsorships
– Successfully won digital projects that were previously held by the AOR
– Partnered closely with project management to scope, deliver and track projects successfully & on budget
– Acted as leader in liaising across various agencies & clients across J&J and Diageo


Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.)

Major, Marketing // Minor, Film GradeDean’s Key // Top two percent of class

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