A decade after founding McBeard, one of the first social media advertising agencies, and following its acquisition by WarnerMedia-owned Fullscreen, Promax board member Alan Beard and longtime business partner Alec McNayr have reunited to co-found Synonymous, a consumer-insights and marketing-strategy agency.
Synonymous builds on the experience of its founders, which included building an audience-insights engine that drove hundreds of creative marketing campaigns, coupled with a patented linguistic analysis platform originally developed for the intelligence community.
“Our clients consistently told us they had all the data in the world, but no real, actionable insights,” said Beard, CEO of the new venture, in a statement, “so we created a process that allows us to understand consumer narratives at scale—something that’s a decade ahead of today’s A.I.”
The company’s underlying technology analyzes unstructured linguistic data—words from any source, in any quantity—as a foundation for its services.
“The name Synonymous comes from the core technology we’ve acquired that goes far beyond simple sentiment analysis and provides narrative context — the most important component of truly understanding audience desires and decision-making,” said McNayr, also in a statement.
A focus on social-media strategy and creative services helped McBeard become one of the entertainment industry’s most successful agencies. McBeard, which grew to 150 staffers prior to its acquisition by Fullscreen in 2015, ran social-media advertising campaigns for more than 600 movies and TV shows for studios, networks and streaming services. Non-entertainment clients followed, as major consumer brands including AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Timberland tapped them to run their social-media campaigns.
After its acquisition by Fullscreen, and subsequent acquisition by AT&T/WarnerMedia, Beard and McNayr served as chief brand officer and SVP, marketing, respectively, for Otter Media, a media company founded by former News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin that’s now a division of WarnerMedia.
“We spent the last few years thinking about the future—and what we loved about our work together,” said Beard, “and it came down to curiosity. We love understanding the previously hidden truths of consumer narratives that give us unique insights to match with our marketing strategy experience.”