This quarter saw crises develop for brands across various industries due to factors that originated outside of their control, from both the economy and political decisions that pulled brands into several conversations.
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Inflation has been a major topic of conversation and public interest — and not just in the US.
The coverage has been fairly consistent in level, with a slight increase towards the end of the quarter in terms of both media and public interest.
This is often used as a broad narrative to criticize politicians, but brands can be dragged into the narrative too when they miss targets due to economic conditions, or are accused of profiteering during times when people are struggling. The latter occurs with particular regularity for oil and gas companies.
Public and media interest in inflation
Netflix had a notable earnings miss in April, which saw a huge spike in coverage for the streaming giant.
The reported loss of 200,000 subscribers saw high levels of engagement across a period of around a week, with a number of money-focused outlets having highly-engaged coverage, from CNBC to Forbes.
The most engaged story framed the losses in subscribers around Netflix’s push to crack down on password sharing, though a Forbes piece compared Netflix negatively with its competitors and posited this as the reason behind its performance.
Engagements to articles written about Netflix
Public and media interest in Netflix results
Labor force news
One aspect of the economy is how companies have interacted with their labor forces.
We saw in the previous section how consistent the news of layoffs was in Q2, but there were also specific examples of companies facing problems with their employees. We looked at three examples of these types of coverage, from three different companies.
The first was Netflix, who sent a letter to their employees saying that if they didn’t like the content the company produced or were in any way offended by it, then they were welcome to quit.
The second was a faux pas around a Burger King retirement, in which the restaurant chain was accused of not caring about its employees after a gift bag was given to a 27-year veteran of the company.
The third and final was about Starbucks’ interim CEO Howard Schulz coming out against unions and saying they were “assaulting” companies.
These were all covered hundreds of times in the media, with the Netflix news having the most engagement. The Burger King story had the most engagement per article, however, with more than a million engagements from 650 stories.
Media and public interest in labor force news
Product recalls are a crisis type we tend to look at every quarter, largely because they frequently occur. And when a product’s safety is in question, timing is everything.
While recalls of food products often make headlines and are less surprising, in Q2 we saw more issues with electronics enter the mix, with safety being the obvious concern in two of the situations.
The quarter began with Kinder chocolates being pulled from supermarkets in Australia ahead of the Easter holiday, and went on to see the announcement of all Juul products being banned from the U.S. market.
We will also take a look at an alleged.regarding Apple AirPods, which didn’t end in a recall, but instead resulted in a lawsuit after a 10-year-old boy reportedly sustained an injury while wearing them.
In comparison to the product recalls we looked at in Q1, media and public interest to Kinder, Juul, and Apple was significantly greater, with several stories about each brand generating high engagement, as opposed to one single driver.
Media and public interest in product recalls
Roe v. Wade
We got a first glimpse of how enormous the media and public’s interest to Roe v. Wade was when Politico leaked the Supreme Court’s draft opinion on May 2nd.
Politico’s story went on to be the biggest article written about Roe v. Wade, earning over 946k engagements, which is nearly 4x higher than when it was officially overturned on June 24th.
Other articles featured in the top five included one about a doctor’s perspective on abortion, and Nancy Pelosi being barred from Holy Communion over support for Roe v. Wade.
Public and media interest in abortion in Q2
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