How Calgary’s Communo helped turn John Krasinski’s Some Good News into a viral hit

Part of the charm of John Krasinski’s Some Good News web series was that it all seemed so off the cuff.

The actor/director produced and financed the show himself while isolating with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was shot at his home with the help of his wife, Emily Blunt, and children. He enlisted his celebrity friends to be guests. It all had a distinctly homey feel to it as Krasinski and his famous pals spread good-news stories from their homes to help break through the doom and gloom of life during a pandemic.COVID-19 Update: 22 new cases, day camps and places of worship opening Monday.

But, in reality, the rapid ascent of Krasinski’s series to feel-good viral hit required a lot of attention behind the scenes. He needed support for social media, for GIF analytics, with post-production, editing and distribution. Enter Calgary’s Communo, a tech company that plays “matchmaker” between freelancers and businesses looking to find high-tech talent. Krasinski wrote a profile on the Communo platform and within days he had found companies from Calgary, Nashville and Brooklyn that fit his needs.

“When the pandemic hit, they had been talking about this show for a while,” says Ryan Gill, Communo CEO and co-founder. “But to go to Hollywood or get production spun up when everyone is working from home, how are you going to do that? It’s difficult. So he had heard about our platform through someone that knew Communo in New York and swiftly set up a profile for multiple jobs. It was editors, it was social-media help, there were GIF analytics. They were all on the platform.”

Ryan Gill, president of Communo -
Ryan Gill, president of Communo.

“When they put the project up, the fun part was that the people who applied didn’t know what they were applying to,” Gill adds. “It was just called Some Good News, no one knew what it was. So it was really cool, to their surprise, to know that they were (working) with The Office star.”

Since its launch in late March, Some Good News has become a monster hit. In two months, it has earned 143 million views and has 2.58 million YouTube subscribers.

Episodes have included a reunion of the cast of The Office and appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jon Stewart, who joined Krasinski to offer advice to students in an episode dedicated to 2020 graduates. The actor recently sold Some Good News to CBS, which raised some consternation among its fans.

Communo’s involvement in Some Good News has put the Calgary company in the spotlight. Gill says he has spent the past two days doing press interviews. In a feature article in Fast Company, a New York-based business magazine and website, Communo is referred to as “John Krasinski’s secret weapon.” But the attention is just the latest chapter in one of Calgary’s most intriguing COVID-era success stories.

Founded in 2017 by Gill and COO Chris Kneeland, Communo works on a subscription-based model that has members paying a monthly fee in hopes of being matched with businesses looking for talent. Since the pandemic began, Communo has seen a 1,400 per cent increase in membership as talent laid off from advertising agencies and marketing houses during the pandemic look to the platform to help them land jobs.  Before the pandemic, Communo would make matches worth $1 million to $3 million a day. Earlier this week, the deals were hitting $125 million a day, Gill says.

The global membership now exceeds 30,000. Gill says 567 are freelancers and businesses of various sizes from Calgary. That includes Arcade Studios, the local company that Krasinski chose to oversee social media for Some Good News. According to the most recent stats, Arcade has helped the series rack up some impressive numbers. Total impressions across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have surpassed one billion. It’s been shared more than 2.3 million times across all platforms and the number of subscribers and followers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok is now at 4.8 million.

“Hopefully, the members on our platform now will work with CBS,” Gill says. “Hopefully, it will expose them to that company now and they will work with John for many years.”

With files from David Parker.

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