Musk drags Apple into November’s biggest brand headlines

December 14, 2022

Written by Haley Corzo

In our October edition of the top brand stories we highlighted how Elon Musk steered conversations about Twitter online, with the media reporting broadly about the unfolding situation since he acquired the platform. In November, however, it was a single tweet from the billionaire that inevitably resulted in Apple and Google making headlines for a more specific reason.

It began with a tweet from political commentator Liz Wheeler who asked if Musk would consider creating his own smartphone if Apple and Google removed Twitter from their app stores. Musk replied saying that he would make an alternative phone if that’s what it came to. 

His response alone garnered more than 459k engagements, and in the week following the Twitter conversation there were 341 articles published about the possibility of a Musk smartphone, which have seen 283.6k engagements.

chart of media and public interest to Elon Apple and Google

Out of the top 100 brand stories in November, The Daily Wire’s article about Elon, Apple, and Google easily took the number one spot, with over 137k engagements. It was clear that this was the most popular narrative among the bunch as well, with seven of the 100 articles mentioning both Apple and Google in their headlines. 

The discussion over Apple and Google’s app stores comes after many advertisers halted ad spend on Twitter due to concerns over Musk’s content moderation plans for the platform. And although he later claimed that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from its app store, it’s important to note that there has been no direct communication from either tech giant on if this is actually up for consideration.  

This does however demonstrate how quickly a narrative can be spun when an influential individual is given such a public platform. While there is no proof that a Musk smartphone even needs to be in the works, the mere idea of it has the media and public in a frenzy.

We can’t forget about the other top brand stories for November. Here are the other brands that stood out. 

1. Bob Iger’s return to Disney sparks interest

The news of Bob Iger’s return as Disney CEO earned tens of thousands of engagements online, especially since he retired less than a year ago. Iger was replaced by Bob Chapek in 2020 and worked as Disney’s executive chairman until retiring, but in November his return was announced and captured a positive reaction.

Disney’s official announcement was the top article about Iger and saw over 51k engagements. Other stories describe the news as “shocking” and noted how the company’s shares soared after it was made public. 

2. UPS makes our list again with more human interest stories

This month UPS earned over 87k engagements due to stories about a Cuban-born UPS driver that went viral after his wife posted an Instagram post about him receiving his first paycheck in America. 

Fox News had the most engaged (27k) story about the celebration, and the original Instagram post has been liked over 150k times. This reminds us how feel-good stories like this one still deeply resonate with the public.

3. Daily Wire becomes the top publisher for the first time

In previous months we’ve seen Business Insider do well in terms of the top publishers writing about brands, but in November, despite generally declining engagement for the conservative publisher, The Daily Wire saw success with its business stories and reporting on Elon Musk. 

The publisher totaled 228k engagements to its articles last month, with the top performing one being the most engaged story overall, and that was about Elon Musk’s potential smartphone. 

To keep reading about the top brand stories each month, check out our October blog here.

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