Home Depot won July’s brand coverage with Hocus Pocus Halloween inflatables

August 18, 2022

Written by Haley Corzo

Halloween fans got an early treat in July when Home Depot announced it was launching Hocus Pocus inflatables of the infamous Sanderson sisters three months ahead of Halloween, and this surprise announcement ended up being the biggest brand-related story in July. This isn’t the first time Home Depot has excited fans for Halloween, with their 12-foot skeleton capturing attention years prior.

The three sisters have been the inspiration for countless costumes since the release of the 1993 cult classic, and the inflatable decorations have landed just in time for the sequel that is set to premiere on Disney+ at the end of September. 

Every year we talk about how Halloween begins trending earlier and earlier, and this year Home Depot was the brand leading conversations about the holiday, quickly gaining an impressive amount of public interest online which steered the home improvement chain onto our list of the top brand stories.

chart of Home Depot interest

Home Depot made headlines in just six of the top 250 stories (~2%), but those stories accounted for ~6% of public interest, with the Hocus Pocus inflatables clearly stirring up excitement online and over-performing with the public. The biggest story written about Home Depot came from Elite Daily and noted that Harry Potter inflatables were also part of the new launch. However, all of the other top stories only mentioned Hocus Pocus in their headlines. 

Overall there were 31 articles written about Home Depot and Hocus Pocus, but public interest was at its highest during the first week of the announcement, with People’s article discussing the release of the sequel drawing the most attention on the 17th, earning over 64k engagements that day.

Halloween’s early debut at Home Depot was one of the biggest narratives to emerge during July, but let’s take a look at the other brands that stood out from the mix. 

Key learnings from July’s brand coverage 

1. Health and safety of employees is a public concern 

Poor working conditions are now more frequently being brought to attention, and how brands react when these issues are covered is crucial to their public perception. In July there were two separate narratives about the extreme heat UPS drivers were suffering from, one of which involved a driver collapsing on someone’s front porch, and the other was about a driver who had been found unconscious in his truck and was later pronounced dead. 

While UPS issued a statement to express its condolences for the loss of one of its drivers, heat concerns are not new for the company, and according to NBC news over 100 employees were hospitalized in 2019 due to serious heat-related injuries. UPS was written about 12 times in the top 250 stories and received over 236k engagements. 

2. Individuals associated with a brand can divert attention

While we’re well aware that Elon Musk is regularly gossiped about, it’s interesting to see how he’s able to steal attention from the brand he represents. Tesla and Ford — both major players in the auto industry — were the two most mentioned brands in July. Tesla was written about 37 times while Ford was written about 19 times, both earning hundreds of thousands of engagements. The key difference? Engagement to Ford was mostly generated from articles showcasing its vehicles, while Tesla’s engagement was largely a result of Musk being the subject. 

Out of all the articles about Tesla in July, over half of them include Musk in the headline, and are often not solely about news pertaining to the brand. Stories about the CEO’s relationships and his politics were high drivers of engagement. 

3. Business Insider is the leading publisher once again

In June we noted that there was one clear champion among the top publishers writing about brands, and in July it seems that a trend has officially started, with Business Insider maintaining its spot at the top. 

The publisher covered a variety of topics such as the Ukraine war, UPS’s heat crisis, and a teacher who quit his job to work at Walmart for more pay. In total Business Insider generated over 700k engagements.

In the end, the top brand stories in July did see some similarities to June, with Tesla and Business Insider continuing to stand out from the crowd. But soft news stories did well to capture the public’s interest, with Home Depot’s Hocus Pocus inflatables building up excitement for Halloween lovers months in advance.

If you’d like to read more about how brands are written about each month, check out our Burger King blog here.

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