John Krasinski’s ‘Some Good News’ by the (really good) numbers, and great news for Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart: Datacenter Weekly

May 22, 2020 7:02 pm

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First, some good news

“In the first quarter, Lowe’s boosted same-store sales 11 percent, its biggest increase since 2003, in crushing the average analyst estimate of 4 percent,” Bloomberg News reports (via Ad Age). “Home Depot posted a gain of 6.4 percent, which also topped estimates.”

Meanwhile, “Walmart had its best e-commerce quarter ever amid a broader coronavirus-fueled sales surge,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports, “but also announced it will shut down and cut marketing spending amid rising costs elsewhere.” Sales rose 8.6 percent globally, and U.S. comparable-store sales surged 10 percent.

Now, some not-so-good news

“For the agency business, last year now looks blissfully mediocre compared to the current depressing state,” says Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson, offering context for our recently released Ad Age Agency Report 2020. “Overall U.S. agency revenue rose a tepid 1.2 percent in 2019, the weakest growth since the Great Recession.” Brad adds that, as a point of comparison, “U.S. agency revenue tumbled 7.5 percent in 2009, the sharpest drop since Ad Age published the first Agency Report in 1945.”

Ad Age Agency Report is one of the must-read reports about our industry, not only for its definitive rankings but for its in-depth analysis of advertising and marketing-services agencies. Ad Age Datacenter subscribers have access to the complete report. Exclusive online content includes:

• Agency Family Trees 2020, a database of the world’s 25 largest agency companies with profiles, agency holdings, financial facts and links to related content.

• Expanded rankings of agencies by discipline, downloadable in Excel.

• Fast facts and figures on more than 400 agencies and networks.

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‘Some Good News’ by the numbers

We have to say we saw this coming: “John Krasinski’s ‘Some Good News’ Sells to ViacomCBS Following Massive Bidding War,” per The Hollywood Reporter. Ad Age covered the genesis of the “SGN” phenomenon in late March and early April— “Watch John Krasinski’s instant-hit web show ‘Some Good News’” and “Episode 2 of John Krasinski’s ‘Some Good News’ is ridiculously wonderful”—and when his show went on hiatus after its eighth weekly episode, it seemed obvious something was up.

If you’ve watched the show, the appeal is obvious. But for a little bit of insight into why a “massive bidding war” would have surrounded such a charming, low-key project, Ad Age turned to Tubular Labs, the social video measurement platform, for some exclusive data on how “SGN” connected with audiences in its first incarnation. 

• First, Tubular took a look at Facebook video views from a rough “SGN” competitive set of talk shows hosted by charming funny guys. From March 30, when the first episode of “SGN” aired, the tallies (through May 20) are:

1. “The Daily Show”: 231 million
2. “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 107 million
3. “The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 55.7 million
4. “Some Good News”: 55.3 million
5. “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”: 35.9 million
6. “Late Night With Seth Meyers”: 5.0 million

In other words, over the course of a couple of months, a novice to the form was competitive on Facebook vs. a group of pros with collectively decades of experience.

• Keep in mind that Krasinski garnered those views with just a fraction of the videos his nominal competitors released. For instance, while he posted 15 Facebook videos from March 30 onward, “The Daily Show” ground out 297. And “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” which had the next-lowest upload total (after “SGN”) out of the six, had 24 in the same time period.

• Krasinski’s “SGN” videos generated 2.1 million “engagements”—Tubular’s name for its tally of viewer actions including likes and shares—which put him second only to Jimmy Fallon and his “Tonight Show” engagements total of 2.4 million.

• Krasinski’s debut “SGN” episode racked up more than 26 million Facebook views, or more than four times the next most-watched video among the competitive set above.

• Tubular notes that “SGN” shows have “legs” beyond their initial release. Roughly a third of views for “SGN” episodes came after the first three days—what Tubular calls the V3 window—and a quarter came after the first seven (V7). 

Just briefly

“6 states might be manipulating COVID-19 data as they reopen, reports suggest—here’s what can skew the numbers,” per Business Insider.

“Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show,” per The New York Times.

“Coronavirus lockdowns have caused a whopping 17% drop in global carbon emissions,” per USA Today.

“Hacker Swipes Data On 40 Million Users Of Popular Wishbone App,” via Forbes.

“Is Your Marketing Strategy Based on the Right Data?,” from Harvard Business Review.

The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at

Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.

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