Summer is a time to indulge. It’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a well-deserved vacation, ice cream after every meal, or maybe a John Deere tractor? For one woman in Massachusetts, a tractor was the perfect 97th birthday treat, and it became one of the biggest brand stories in July.
Before we dive into the other brands that made the biggest splash in the headlines last month, let’s take a look at how brands were written about in general. As always, our brand coverage analyses look at a rolling list of the Fortune 100 companies to see their media and public interest for a given month, and in July there were 872k articles written about those brands, with over 25 million engagements to those articles.
As shown on the timeline above, there was a 4% increase in the output of articles about Fortune 100 companies, but a slight 8% decrease in engagements compared to June. Public interest can regularly fluctuate based on what’s in the news, however, we’ve still seen upwards of 25 million engagements for every month so far in 2023.
We’re often surprised by what brand stories get the most attention each month, but there are also some consistencies. A big tech company is likely going to be one of the most mentioned brands, but we love it when we see a smaller brand make the headlines in a unique way, and that’s what happened with John Deere. Let’s take a look.
John Deere captured attention with a local story
A Massachusetts woman decided to buy herself a John Deere tractor for her 97th birthday, and the story has since been a local hit. It was first written about on July 12th and has now amassed over 537k engagements, and every single article has come from a local outlet.
It’s common for more feel-good stories to be propelled by a local news website, but this seems to be an even more special case in the fact that there was not one mainstream publisher involved, and several of the local articles saw tens of thousands of engagements. The biggest of them all came from WITN in North Carolina, and earned over 189k engagements.
Apple ties itself to Messi
We mentioned before that big tech companies frequently make headlines, so while it’s no shock that Apple is among the mix for July, it’s important to note that it’s the brand’s affiliation with Lionel Messi that resulted in it gaining so much attention.
Messi’s recent debut at Inter Miami FC was massive news across the web and social media, and with Apple TV as a streaming partner, the footballers unveiling was available to watch online, but Apple was met with disappointment from fans due to some shaky coverage. Apple’s billboard welcoming Messi to Miami did receive some positive coverage, though, with Daily Mail’s article earning 54k engagements. In total, articles about Apple and Messi received 258k engagements in July.
Ford says goodbye to an old model
Car news is a huge driver of engagement for brands each month, and that much was true for Ford, who saw a good amount of public interest in its decision to end manufacturing of its Fiesta model after 47 years. This is a continuation of the brand’s commitment to produce more electric vehicles, but the announcement still struck a chord with the public as it has been the best-selling car in the UK for years.
At the end of the day, local news proved to be a powerful tool for brands in July, with a sweet story about John Deere winning brand coverage by far compared to other major brands in the mix.
If you’d like to learn more about how we identify the top brand stories, reach out to us for a demo here.