$1 billion visualized as a road trip, The Lincoln Project’s YouTube hit-making machine, and Old Navy’s big TV push: Datacenter Weekly


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Non-hobby lobby

Amazon spent a record $4.38 million on lobbying in the second quarter, Bloomberg News reports.

Why this matters now: Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is about to make his Capitol Hill debut in the form of an appearance before the House antitrust subcommittee on Monday, July 27. Apple’s Tim Cook will be there too (also making his first appearance), along with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai (who have both been to this rodeo before).

+ ICYMI: Amazon “last year spent about $21,000 per minute on advertising and promotion,” Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson writes in “How Amazon ad spending went from $30,000 to $11 billion”—a post that serves up plenty of other stats about the e-tailer’s journey to the tippy-top of the must-read Ad Age Leading National Advertisers 2020 report/ranking. 

The latest unemployment data in context

“The level of new jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week, signaling a weakening trend in the labor market as states across the U.S. grapple with a resurgence in coronavirus cases,” Yahoo Finance reports, citing the latest Labor Department data. “Another 1.416 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment insurance benefits, up from just over 1.3 million the prior week.”

The bigger picture: “Roughly one in five workers are collecting unemployment benefits,” per The New York Times.

Old Navy’s massive TV push

We recently kicked off a regular look at marketers that have been increasing their TV ad spend (across national broadcast and cable). The previous installment covered Starbucks; the subject of today’s close-up is Old Navy, with TV ad spend provided exclusively to Datacenter Weekly by iSpot.tv. To wit:

• Old Navy spent less than $12 million on TV advertising from January through June, per iSpot’s estimates.
• From June 1 through July 21, Old Navy has been catching up on lost time, plowing an estimated $31.3 million into TV advertising—i.e., more than twice what it spent during the first five months of 2020.
• That surge puts Old Navy in 29th place among all brands in terms of TV ad spending from June 1 to date.
• Among the ads Old Navy has put into heavy rotation: “Together,” featuring artist Noah Scalin, which has racked up 1.58 billion TV ad impressions since June 1.

To put this all another way… If Old Navy ads have seemed omnipresent while you’re watching TV lately, you’re not imagining things. The brand lately accounts for a remarkable 64 percent of TV ad spend in the clothing/footwear category tracked by iSpot.

Billionaire road trip

Back in May we shared what we called “an astonishing visualization of Jeff Bezos’ wealth,” courtesy of web developer Matt Korostof, who figured out a way to make something rather incomprehensible—the real scale of billions and billions of dollars—exhaustingly comprehensible through the physical activity of scrolling.

Now we’re directing your attention to another fascinating wealth visualization (though one that doesn’t focus on Bezos) that also uses movement to get the point across.

In “A Million Dollars vs A Billion Dollars, Visualized: A Road Trip,” British vlogger Tom Scott literally travels to convey the nearly unfathomable distance between being a millionaire and a billionaire. 

The video, incidentally, is a YouTube millionaire, so to speak. Though Scott originally posted it on July 13, it recently surged past the milllion-view mark thanks to briefly landing on Reddit’s home page. (Spoiler: You’re going to find yourself skipping around and ahead quite a bit, because this is a long road trip.)

Lincoln logged

Speaking of YouTube, conservative anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project, which we’ve been watching closely as part of our ongoing Campaign Trail coverage, sure seems to know its way about the platform, according to data that social video analytics platform Tubular Labs shared exclusively with Datacenter Weekly:

• TLP has racked up more YouTube views than Joe Biden from April 1 through July 21: 63.6 million vs. 44.7 million.
• TLP’s YouTube videos over that same measurement window had 2.6 million engagements—Tubular’s term for combined shares, likes and comments—vs. just over 292,000 for Biden.
• TLP has had 25 YouTube videos with 1 million or more views, vs. just four for Biden.
• TLP has been accelerating its output lately with 42 videos uploaded to YouTube from June 1 through July 21. Biden’s YouTube channel has posted 64 videos during the same timeframe—but, again, they individually tend to draw fewer eyeballs than the typical Lincoln Project video.

Just briefly

“NFL to continue data tracking in helmets, cleats and mouthguards amid COVID-19,” per The Atlantic.
• ‘True number of U.S. coronavirus infections likely 10 times larger than reported, CDC data shows,” per Politico.
“EU Regulators Take Tough Data-Transfer Approach After Ruling,” Bloomberg News reports.
“Google announces 100,000 scholarships for online certificates in data analytics, project management and UX,” via CNBC.
“Hundreds Of Thousands Of Instacart Customers’ Personal Data Is Being Sold Online,” BuzzFeed News reports.
“How to download your Instagram data and get a file with all of your photos, comments, messages, and more,” from Business Insider.
“This data campaign lowers the price of condoms as STIs go up,” via Ad Age’s Creativity.

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 AdAge.com/Datacenter.

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

This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.



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