In the race to net zero, how is ‘green pharma’ perceived around the world?  

Following the commencement of COP27 in November 2022, a report by the Office of Health Economics (OHE) declared that immediate action must be taken by health organisations to secure the era of green pharmaceuticals.

Europe, Australasia and North America have collectively committed to net-zero by 2050, meaning sustainability will evolve from an add-on to appease green stakeholders into a ‘business-critical strategy’ to protect operational licences.

The pharmaceutical industry is considered a‘major emitter’ of greenhouse gases, producing 55% more than the automotive sector. Greener mechanisms will need to be rapidly adopted to reduce such large-scale emissions and plastic production, which are ‘most prevalent’ in R&D, operational processes and medicine delivery.

When pharma’s contributions to climate change became a focus point at the COP27 event in Egypt, industry news and health publications began its continued interest into how the biggest players are making their first steps. The risk of ‘greenwashing’ accusations is high across all sectors — pharmaceutical brands must be vigilant in proving they can ‘walk the talk’ once their commitments to sustainability have been publicised.

Key Takeaways

  • Since 2022, ‘green pharma’ has evolved in the press from a public demand to a business-critical strategy
  • Unbranded headlines that outline the collaborative efforts of multiple pharma brands are outperforming those that list specific companies
  • Alongside the general discussion of green pharma growth, the UK produced 10.2% more coverage on brand-focused initiatives than the rest of Europe, North America and Australasia
  • Environmental accreditations like the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) can significantly enhance media awareness and legitimacy of sustainability claims

The UK continues to be a leading source of ‘green pharma’ coverage, producing approx. 2,369 articles since 1 Nov 2022. This is only 30% less than Europe’s collective output, where Switzerland is the most active speaker (approx. 940 articles) with Germany close behind (approx. 731 articles). North America has produced around 6,200 articles and just over 2,000 were produced across Australasia.

Most-mentioned brands

 *Data shown above measures all climate-focused pharmaceutical coverage published in national/international news sources and health-related industry publications (approx. 13,700 articles across Europe, N. America & Australasia) between 1 Nov 2022 and 9 Jan 2023.

Across all countries measured by the Vuelio Insights team, the UK produced the most brand-focused content (as opposed to generalised ‘green pharma’ discussion). Approximately 39.7% of all coverage focused on the specific actions of one or more pharmaceutical companies, whereas Europe produced 29.5%, Australasia 26.8% and North America 16.12%.

Collaborative efforts outperform specific brand stories

That being said, the highest-reaching and most prominent coverage on this topic has been that which summarises a collective of pharma efforts, such as ‘Seven pharma CEOs unite to achieve net zero healthcare’ or ‘Japanese drugmakers make greener packaging pledge’.

This overview style of article demonstrated incomparable engagement in all countries measured. As the most successful story of the entire period, the ‘seven CEOs’ piece was repurposed 2,486 times across international news sources and pharma publications.

Although 65% of general news headlines were unbranded, some trade titles opted for branded variations ie PRWeek’s ‘Merck, AstraZeneca, GSK CEOs announce efforts to curb emissions in healthcare’. Although this was a strong source of positive prominence for some companies, unbranded headlines received a 66% higher reach in all publication types. Ultimately, all article variations offered headline and/or significant mentions for all of the listed brands and accounted for approximately 82% of international coverage for GSK, Samsung Biologics, Merck Group and Roche.

Top Stories

*Data shown above defines ‘top story’ as that which has achieved significant national or international media awareness across 200+ news or pharma publications, also offering either headline or significant prominence for one or more pharmaceutical companies. Overall pos. sentiment is calculated as positive + neutral combined.


While AstraZeneca and Samsung Biologics were also part of the ‘seven CEOs’ piece, both brands performed better overall with stories that produced lower volume. For example, across Europe and North America, AstraZeneca’s ‘Ambition Zero Carbon’ initiative has produced 414 articles in 298 news and industry publications. While this is less than the article with the highest volume, 89% of coverage mentioned AstraZeneca in the headline, while quotes from CEO Pascal Soriot’s COP27 speech were featured in 38.6% of this coverage. Overall, positive prominence was much higher and therefore made the ‘accelerating toward net zero’ piece their top story.

Samsung Biologics

The same principle of prominence > volume applies to Samsung Biologics’ top story. Among all coverage on net zero healthcare across the studied regions, the company’s acquisition of the Terra Carta Seal  was the brand’s most positive and prominent piece across major international news publications and pharmaceutical media outlets.

Roche & Merck Group 

As for Roche and Merck, both brands performed best in the ‘seven CEOs’ piece in terms of volume, sentiment & prominence combined. However, Roche outperformed AstraZeneca as one of the most-mentioned pharma brands of those recognised for its ‘science-based targets’ and a ‘clearly-defined pathway’ to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals. With over 4,000 businesses following the SBTi initiative since 2015, it has become an established benchmark for success within scientific journalism.


Across Australasia, Takeda has benefitted from a similar style of broad and unbranded coverage recognising collaborative environmental efforts. Alongside Astellas, Eisai, Daiichi Sankyo, its collaborative involvement in efforts to reduce pharmaceutical packaging was covered 733 times from 15 Dec 2022 – 5 Jan 2023, which made up 37.2% of the total coverage across the collective regions.


On the topic of net zero healthcare, Bayer has been the only pharma company to receive a significant and international volume of negative coverage since COP27 in November. This was driven by one highly prominent story on Jeff Ubben, an environmental activist and prospective Bayer investor who is pushing for an ‘external CEO’ to better support net zero goals within the company.

Media awareness around this discussion peaked between 7 and 23 Jan. The Financial Times reported on this story from multiple angles between 9 and 23 Jan, as part of both general news and in its ’Moral Money’ sections. As a result, the publication produced the highest international readership and engagement on the story.

Ubben was quoted saying that an external hire would be a ‘clean break from the past’, referencing severe litigations taken against Bayer when it acquired Monsanto and its herbicide, Roundup, which is notorious for its lethal impact to environmental and human health.

Urgency from all sides

Over the past few years, media discussion around net zero healthcare has evolved rapidly. As an industry once known as ‘reluctant’ to prioritise sustainability, 2022 was the year of the public call to action for better ESG strategies. Now, as we begin 2023, it has evolved from a demand to an ‘urgent’ necessity — that will have a detrimental operational impact if neglected.

Nick Hoile, senior director of the Health practice at PR agency MHP, made a public statement in November stating that there is a ‘medical education and communications piece’ that needs to be done at all levels, including the conversations sales teams have with individual physicians. Further, Hoile argued that health communicators have a ‘pivotal role’ in shaping the green narrative and would be wise to acquire ‘environmental credentials’ as soon as possible.

As proven by the prominent positive coverage of AstraZeneca, joining the SBTi is a visible example of how such credentials can massively impact net zero brand awareness across international media sources.

In an article titled ‘Will ESG be 2023’s Hottest Business Topic in Bio/Pharma?’, Life Science Leader argued that joining SBTi is also a sure-fire way to prove authenticity and avoid ‘greenwashing’ allegations.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

How to create key messages that actually land with your target audience

When it comes to measuring your PR performance, numbers alone can – for better or worse – easily distort the real picture. For example, Share of Voice is always one of the first metrics Vuelio clients ask for – but what is the quality of the coverage? Brand A may have 10% more than Brand B, but how valuable is it to the brand? If it is mostly negative or passive commentary, then Brand B may have performed better overall.

Key Message Penetration is a great tool for diving deeper into your coverage to measure brand awareness and assess how well your brand messages are being delivered.

Try this simple five-step guide to get started:

1. Establish your key messages

Create a list of 3-5 key messages that highlight the main point(s) you want to get across. These are the messages you want to come to the minds of your consumers when they think about your brand, so tie them back to your brand strategy or a specific product launch, i.e.:

  • ABC Vets, pioneers in new holistic pet therapy 
  • ABC Vets, the charity for pets in need 
  • ABC Vets, providing affordable animal care to Britain since 1978 

    2. Set parameters 

    Once you have your key messages, decide on the channels that would be most valuable based on your target audience. For example:

  • What are the preferred media types of your target audience(s) i.e. print, broadcast, online news, social media etc?
  • Which publications are your audience(s) reading?
  • Which journalists/authors write these pieces?
  • Do you have a target reach i.e. regional, national, international?

3. Assess your coverage overtime

Now that you know what your messages are and the format(s) in which you would like them to appear, you can begin exploring your coverage results:

  • Establish a timeframe of how often you would like to compare your performance (i.e. monthly, quarterly, yearly).
  • When it is time to conduct your analysis, compile all earned coverage throughout your chosen period and ensure it is differentiated from owned and paid-for coverage.
  • Using your list of key messages, explore each media item for points of reference. In order to get your final penetration percentage, divide the number of key message articles by the total number of articles and times by 100.

Tip: Your coverage does not have to state the exact words in your list of key messages— it can be any earned content that fits into the category of one of your key messages.

For example, if one of your key message targets is to be a thought leader in your field, then a newspaper that cites a statistic or factual quote from your brand would count as message penetration.

4. Evaluate performance – which key messages landed best? Where?

Within your analysis, note down the parameters of when your key messages perform best/worst. For example, which key messages are most mentioned? Which media types/publications/journalists come up the most? What is the reach?

Using this data, compare the types of media that your key messages are performing best/worst in with the media that is most engaged with your target audience. For example, if the publications that are most often driving your key messages are highly engaged with your target audience, you know your brand awareness is performing well in the right places.

Reminder: You can use this type of evaluation (as well as things like sentiment and mention types) to explore the true quality and brand value of the coverage that is measured in your quantitative data.

5. Build out your KPIs

Once you have completed a comprehensive analysis, you should have a clear, qualitative and quantitative understanding of how well your key messages are being delivered to your target audience(s).

With this information, you can create a data-led set of KPIs on:

  • Your realistic and achievable penetration percentage
  • Which target publications, platforms, journalists etc. are delivering your messages
  • Who/what/when/where you would like to generate more awareness

As these analyses begin to accrue over time, you can use the former reports as benchmarks for the next. This way you can see how your key message penetration is progressing month on month, year on year.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

How has the FTX collapse impacted media attitudes towards cryptocurrency?

On 11 November 2022, international crypto-exchange platform FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US. The company owes an estimated $3bn to more than one million creditors, a debt that international newspapers are blaming on a conscious breach of compliance laws.

Three months into investigations, global news coverage has remained consistent on the newest scandals and court updates. As a result, investors appear to be losing ‘trust’ in crypto-focused platforms and are seeking reliable, established alternatives — an opportunity that is being fervently explored by Goldman Sachs, Britannia Financial Group and alike.

Key Takeaways

  • International FTX coverage has peaked four times between 3 Nov – 4 Jan, the highest being Sam Bankman-Fried’s alleged breach of compliance laws
  • While general news sources chose to report on major scandals and the future of cryptocurrency, industry publications chose to focus on the pros/cons of investors losing trust in exchange platforms
  • Binance and Twitter were the most-mentioned brands in relation to FTX’s crash, triggered by several exclusive revelations made by its CEOs
  • ‘Cascading contagion’ has been a trending term since December and is likely to be a continuous point of media interest throughout 2023

Volume over time

*Data shown above analyses all English-language FTX-related articles produced by international, national news and business/finance publications (approx. 13,951) from 3 Nov, 2022 – 4 Jan, 2023.

As news about FTX’s collapse began to decline around Christmas, coverage peaked once again between 22 – 24 Dec when Sam Bankman-Fried (also known as SBF) was released on a $250m bail, ahead of his trial facing eight criminal charges and civil suits filed by the SEC and CFTC. Approximately 2,270 international news and business articles were published over this period, while 63% criticised SBF’s ‘luxurious’ experience while in prison and under house arrest.

While bail-related coverage was short-lived around the holiday season, rthe story peaked again on 3 Jan when 611 articles across 460 international news publications reported on SBF pleading ‘not guilty’ to criminal charges by US District Court claiming he ‘cheated investors’ on his platform, using deposits to ‘support his Alameda Research hedge fund, buy real estate and make political contributions’.

Top Topics

The initial announcement of FTX’s bankruptcy had a similar impact on international news and business/finance publications, both sharing between 20-25% of total coverage. However, regular updates thereafter were more frequent in industry news as SBF’s arrest consumed 10.04% more coverage than in mainstream media.

On the other hand, general news sources produced 13.27% more coverage throughout Nov. and Dec. on how FTX breached multiple compliance laws. The Independent referred to SBF as ‘disgraced’ in 18 of its 32 compliance-related FTX articles, while the BBC focused on fraud and money laundering allegations in 18 of its 22 FTX pieces. Overall, the Financial Times has been the UK’s leading publication on allegations against SBF — producing 145 articles from 11 Nov to 23 Dec. Every piece released by the FT during this time focused on compliancy issues, with 40% of headlines calling SBF a ‘fraud in shorts’ and 15% focusing on the multiple counts of conspiracy against his hedge fund, Alameda research.

When things grew quiet for a short period between Christmas and the new year, international online news sources used the opportunity to discuss what the future of cryptocurrency may look like, though many used the term ‘crisis’ and coverage was 68% negative in sentiment. This attitude was likely impacted by public statements made by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and JPMorgan, who both referred to the downfall as having a ‘cascading’ impact on the whole industry.

However, finance/business publications used this brief pause in FTX updates to place more of a focus on how the crash affected investor confidence. While 58% of this coverage was negative in sentiment, such as Fortune’s piece on the loss of Gen Z investors, 42% of this discussion explored who may benefit from shaky grounds. Alongside Goldman Sachs’ interest in using this downfall to become the reliable alternative, Bitcoinist also reported on the companies that will profit from such insecurity — with particular mention of hard wallets like Ledger.

Most-mentioned companies

*Data shown above analyses all English language FTX-related articles produced by international, national news and business/finance publications (approx. 13,951) from 3 Nov, 2022 – 4 Jan, 2023. Excludes FTX and Alameda Research.

As more details of the FTX crash began to surface, Binance was the most-mentioned brand to receive either headline or significant coverage across international, national news and business/finance publications. The brand’s decision to acquire FTX, alongside its later withdrawal following due diligence concerns, was the leading story that created this level of awareness.

What was once an attempt at allyship swiftly became a feud, as Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao went viral following an online Twitter battle, also calling SBF ‘desperate’ and ‘one of the greatest fraudsters in history’.


Similar to Binance, more than one story from Twitter resulted in three significant peaks in coverage between 12 Nov and 5 Dec. The first and most prominent was when Elon Musk revealed that SBF tried to back his acquisition of the social platform, which was covered by 1,148 news and finance publications across the UK and North America. Musk, who stated that his ‘b*******t meter was redlining’ when he first met Bankman-Fried, also said something ‘seemed wrong’ about the legitimacy of his funds and predicted the capital would never actually come through.

The second peak in coverage was when Musk publicly criticised the Wall Street Journal for publishing an article that outlined the downfall of SBF’s philanthropic ventures. The Twitter CEO described the coverage as giving a ‘foot massage’ to Sam Bankman-Fried, a comment that made 638 international headlines in the following week:


BlockFi, Genesis, Gemini and Digital Currency Group

As much as FTX’s downfall has in itself been a significant point of media interest, so have the brands that have been — sometimes to the point of destruction — harmed by the crash.

Among the financial platforms of those that have suffered major losses, BlockFi, Genesis, Gemini and Digital Currency Group (DCG) have been the most prevalent in both general news and business publications.

When BlockFi declared bankruptcy, over 200 national/regional British headlines placed emphasis on its relation to the FTX crash. However, when crypto broker Genesis and its parent company Digital Currency Group (DCG) suffered similar losses for the same reasons, British news sources opted to focus less on FTX’s involvement and more on how Genesis/DCG are in debt of $900m to Gemini — an exchange platform owned by the renowned Winklevoss twins.

Of the collective 3,425 articles on this story, the Financial Times’ report was syndicated by 326  international outlets like Reuters and MSN.


Global accounting software QuickBooks had a sudden spike in awareness when John J. Ray III, the new court-appointed CEO of FTX, stated what an ‘unusual’ choice it was for a multi-billion dollar exchange platform. In an expression to the US District Court, Ray referred to QuickBooks as a ‘very nice tool, not for a multibillion dollar company’.

As a result of this, the accounting software was mentioned in 303 international news sources and 426 business/finance publications between 12 and 16 Dec. Over 90% of this coverage was a significant mention, 6% was a headline mention and the rest was a passing mention.

Goldman Sachs

As fatal losses continue across the crypto market, the same goes for investor confidence. Goldman Sachs has been one of the most prominent voices on the call for more regulation, while also exploring the opportunity to become a ‘trusted player’ themselves.

Mathew McDermott, Goldman’s head of digital assets, told Reuters that FTX’s implosion will mean ‘big banks see an opportunity to pick up business’, and that Goldman is ‘doing due diligence on a number of different crypto firms’. Approximately 682 articles mentioned Sachs’ vested interest.

HSBC has been persistently vocal about its distrust of the industry.

‘Cascading contagion’ throughout 2023

With 115 years in prison now on the line, anticipation for SBF’s trial in October is likely to create consistent waves in international FTX coverage throughout the year. Between 11 Nov and 4 Dec, the term ‘cascading contagion’ was used 438 times across 386 national and international news sources, while also being cited by several public figures in the industry. Furthermore, given the deep dive into how Gemini, Genesis and alike have been impacted, the catastrophic effect on other crypto platforms will also continue to be an ongoing point of discussion throughout 2023.

General news sources across the UK have demonstrated a preference for discussion around major scandals and the future of cryptocurrency, meaning national newspapers may not produce significant FTX coverage again until the Autumn trials. However, as the Bank of England ‘throws its weight’ behind Sunak’s plans to become a ‘cryptocurrency superpower’, updates in regulation could potentially create some media interest.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

World Cup 2022 – is the PR value paying off for FIFA sponsors?

Since the start of the World Cup on 20 November, FIFA’s seven official partners have faced extensive backlash over decisions to support the event from politicians, public figures and the press. This critique follows a multitude of human rights concerns and bribery allegations against FIFA and Qatar, some of which have been referred to as ‘serious abuse’ in 482 international headlines over the course of the tournament.

Strong criticism of FIFA’s affiliation with Qatar has been widely distributed in the press since 2014. Approximately 1,876 international English-language publications have discussed ‘corruption’ since 10 November alone, with 11% citing that awarding Qatar the World Cup was a ‘bad choice’ – words used by Sepp Blatter, former FIFA president who resigned in 2015 amid the bribery scandal.

Since June, over 200 international charities and organisations have released statements on unresolved and ongoing crises caused by the event. In particular, the most discussed has been the ‘death, injury and rampant wage theft’ against migrant workers, which has been condemned by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare and Equidem. Nick McGeehan, founding director of FairSquare, publicly accused FIFA of ‘benefiting from exploitation’ and ‘parroting Qatari authorities’, while Tirana Hassan, Human Rights Watch’s Acting executive director, called the organisation a ‘global embarrassment’.

Key Takeaways

  • Adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa have produced the most significant international volumes of positive, diverse and controlled coverage
  • Visa has demonstrated strong sentiment control despite coverage peaking later than other sponsors
  • Wanda Group’s lack of ESG comms contributed greatly to negative coverage
  • The Independent and The Telegraph were top publications for six out of the seven FIFA Partners, while CE Noticias Financieras led the print media conversation in Latin American regions

The labour disaster is just one of the negative news stories that have been pinned against Qatari World Cup. Partners have had almost a decade of negative news commentary in relation to their affiliation with FIFA, many of which used this time to prepare messaging on equality, union and perseverance.

Share of Voice
Between 10 Nov – 10 Dec, the Vuelio Insights team found 3,268 international news publications that released FIFA-related coverage mentioning one of the seven partner brands. Among this coverage, adidas achieved the strongest share of voice overall, of which 36% was proactive. Hyundai/Kia was close behind in 22.36% of all international coverage, of which 67% was proactive.

While its coverage peaked much later into the World Cup than for other brands, Visa has demonstrated extensive control over its public commentary throughout the event. The financial corporation’s earned content has been 82% proactive, either stemming from press releases and social media posts.

On average, adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa were each mentioned in 56% of international headlines. On the other hand, Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways, QatarEnergy and Wanda Group received a significantly lower quality of coverage, with an average of just 23% of international headlines mentioning one of the brands. Approximately 52% of their coverage was considered a substantial mention and 25% was a passive mention.

Both Coca-Cola and Qatar Airways offered extensive messaging on being ‘universal’ and ‘uniting’ fans in the face of controversy, but both campaigns were heavily diluted by several wider news stories evolving with adidas and Hyundai/Kia between 18 Nov and 1 Dec.

Top stories, sentiment and coverage overtime

While adidas received the highest international share of voice, overall sentiment was relatively balanced with 26.2% positive, 33.3% neutral and 39.7% negative. The sports corporation’s most widely distributed story was on how its bespoke technology ‘proved’ that Ronaldo did not score the opener against Uruguay, which was published 682 times across 598 international news sources. This story had a majority positive sentiment and peaked from 29 Nov – 1 Dec, of which 72% quoted various excerpts from the original adidas statement on how its tech was able to ‘definitively show no contact on the ball’.

Several global news stories have emerged around adidas’s ‘hi-tech’ footballs throughout the World Cup, making it the leading news topic among all FIFA Partners. The goal Ronaldo claimed proved to be a beneficial source of positive coverage among otherwise negative headlines that peaked in the same week.

Jordan Pickford was quoted 182 times as being ‘worried’ by the ‘menace’ and ‘rascal’ balls ahead of the England v France game, describing them as ‘a bit different’ to Nike balls used in the Premier League. Similarly, Kieran Trippier was quoted 203 times when he referred to the balls as ‘a bit lighter’ and like they would ‘fly away’. This coverage had a collective 57% negative sentiment rate but received less attention than the Ronaldo goal, leaving adidas less impacted overall.


While Hyundai/Kia had a slightly lower volume of coverage, it maintained a 14% higher positive sentiment rate overall. The most popular headline was in relation to the FIFA Museum presented by the motor company, which was covered 223 times by international news, sport and automotive publications. Within the body of the article, 46% mentioned how this opening is as part of Hyundai/Kia’s ‘Goal of the Century’ platform, which received a subsequently high volume of positive coverage for its dedication to sustainability and social impact.

This extended coverage was a strong source of recovery for Hyundai/Kia following a brief  negative peak in coverage from 18-20 November, when it was announced that FIFA stalled on a sponsorship renewal offer from Hyundai/Kia worth more than $600m (€580m) in 2019.


With an overwhelmingly positive coverage rate in comparison to other sponsors, Visa experienced two peaks in coverage between 10 Nov and 10 Dec. The first, which was covered between 16 and 20 Nov, was a direct press release on the brand’s ‘innovative payment experiences’ at the World Cup. This topic was discussed 268 times over four days across 203 international economy and news sources.

However, Visa’s biggest peak in coverage was from 8 to 12 Dec, when the brand released a report that shared spending data across all venues throughout the tournament. Furthermore, the prediction that the entire event will reach ‘record spending’ was quoted in 482 of the total 563 international finance and news headlines.

The only significant source of negative coverage associated with Visa throughout the period measured was around its decision to bring NFTs to the World Cup. While the move excited some, approximately 186 outlets reported on how the value of the tokens ‘stumbled’ as ‘upsets’ around the game evolved.


As the tournament has evolved, Coca-Cola has fallen short of significant news stories in comparison to other sponsors. The brand’s top story was on the British Conservative dispute against the drinks manufacturer’s decision to sponsor FIFA following a series of homophobic comments.

This story was covered 398 times between 19 and 21 Nov and was a large causational factor behind the brand’s strong rate of negative coverage. On the other hand, the brand’s World Cup campaign, ‘Believing is Magic’, received a 43% positive sentiment score across 435 international news sources between 31 Aug and 30 Oct. However, op-eds and PR news sources were generally sceptical, accusing it of undermining the severity of migrant worker abuse.

Qatar Airways

In many ways, Qatar Airways has mirrored the performance of Coca-Cola. Its most positive coverage in relation to the World Cup was published prior to the event, with the most significant being its opening ceremony which was covered by 182 international news and travel publications. Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, was quoted in 59% of this coverage stating that the ‘dream of bringing the world together has truly come alive’.

However, the most significant source of coverage since 10 November has been allegations that FOX Sports produced biased coverage to support a sponsorship agreement made with Qatar Airways. Between 18 and 22 November, FOX News ‘denied’ any potential production influence, while Qatar Airways ‘refused’ to comment.

Wanda Group

As for Wanda Group, earned coverage in English Speaking publications has been low and passive in comparison to other Partners. Similarly, any active contributions to the event – such as targeted campaigns, messaging or public statements — have not been picked up by the media throughout the event. Additionally, over 90% of high-reaching coverage came from a Chinese news or PR publication with international readership.

Wanda Group’s lack of comms meant there was little public content to change the narrative around earned media, which was certainly needed given that the overall sentiment score was 17.7% positive, 47% neutral and 44% negative. The top headline, first published by Campaign Asia, was titled ‘What are Chinese sponsors hoping to get out of the World Cup?’ which explored the expenditure and potential strategy of Wanda Group among other brands.

While the piece was neutral overall, the author concluded the ‘potential backfires’ in attempt to reach a global audience, stating it is ‘unlikely’ anyone would ‘view sponsors favourably amid human rights controversies and concerns that have dogged Qatar’.


Although overall volume has by far been the lowest, 39% of QatarEnergy’s international coverage was created by Qatari publications and an additional 46.5% across the UK (31%) and US (15.5%). Alongside passive mentions in reports exploring FIFA expenses, the most significant source of coverage for QatarEnergy has been related to ‘catastrophic’ climate concerns. Between 18 Nov – 10 Dec, 398 international news sources (83% of the brand’s total coverage) discussed the counterintuitive nature of FIFA partnering with the supplier in the face of its ‘#SaveThePlanet’ campaign.

Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister and chief executive of QatarEnergy, was quoted within the body of this coverage in committing to provide ‘reliable and credible LNG supply solutions to customers across the globe’, with ‘plenty of financial support’ from major banks.

Top publications

Between 10 Nov and 10 Dec, approximately 36% of adidas’s coverage came from its top five publications. Although the leading source was USA Today, 66% of this coverage were passing mentions in relation to generalised World Cup expenditure articles. In articles where the brand was the focus, USA Today most often discussed adidas’ charitable efforts, such as donating to Footballs for Schools or using recycled materials in football kits.

CE Noticias Financieras mentioned adidas in 311 FIFA-related articles throughout the World Cup period, with a much stronger focus on the brand overall. As the only print media source to have made it in the top publications chart, CE Noticias Financieras has also been the second-most popular news source for adidas overall. The publication’s most covered topic was Adidas’ intervention intthe Ronaldo-claimed goal and a detailed ‘unveiling’ of ‘Al Hilm’, the official ball provided by Adidas for the semi-final and final.

The Latin American print publication was also the leading source of coverage for QatarEnergy, though the total volume was much lower (36 articles between 16 Nov – 3 Dec) and focused on its possible supply expansion across Europe.

British and US news sources leading the conversation

Throughout the tournament, The Independent and The Telegraph have been leading news sources for six out of the seven Partners – while MailOnline also made it into the top publications for three of the seven. Closely behind was NBC Sports and Washington Post, which were considered major sources of coverage for two out of the seven sponsors.

Hyundai/Kia has by far achieved the most geographical diversity among its top publications, with sources based in the UK, US, Korea and Qatar. Qatar Airways’ strongest coverage has been exclusive to the UK, Qatar and its sponsored coverage source in the US (FOX Sports).

When tactical loss is necessary

Among the seven sponsors, the top three highest-performing overall (significant volumes of positive, diverse and controlled coverage) were adidas, Hyundai/Kia and Visa. The key difference between these brands and the others was well-timed and extensive messaging on social solidarity and humanitarianism. While these attitudes were often criticised as ‘tone-deaf’ by op-eds and PR publications, the overarching positive message outweighed negative sentiment around Qatari controversies by international news sources.

While Coca-Cola did exactly that in its ‘Believing is magic’ campaign, media interest peaked when it launched two months before the event. If collateral had been gradually dispersed closer to the event, the brand would have similarly diluted negative peaks against sponsors and Qatar controversy when the event officially began.

Wanda Group, who opted to not release any targeted messaging this year, has been a strong example of how tactical loss is better than silence. Unlike its ‘women first’ campaign in the 2018 Women’s World Cup, the brand has not offered any targeted messaging towards human rights at a time when it is most desired from target audiences. As a result, the most influential and international coverage has been negative and theoretical commentary on Wanda Group’s ethics and strategy — without any level of public comms from the brand itself to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Which products are most likely to be bought second-hand this Christmas?

In effort to support Brits with the cost-of-living crisis, national coverage on how to budget for Christmas has increased by 486% since last year. Alongside this, discussion around ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%, with the resale of both luxury and high street goods as the leading topic of interest in this area.

During October, 186 national new sources reported that 60% of Brits plan to spend less this year. Furthermore, a widely distributed eBay report shows that 62% of luxury shoppers actively selling on second-hand sites have resold a luxury accessory for a profit. This rapid growth in resale is undoubtedly an international trend, with over 200 international newspapers across the UK and North America referring to it as ‘investment’, which some consumers ‘consider a safer store of value than stocks’.

Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, the social acceptance of second-hand items has been widely discussed across general and retail-industry news. Between 27 and 30 October, the headline ‘Brits are no longer embarrassed to charity shop’ was syndicated across 89 national and regional news sources, while Oxfam were quoted 72 times in saying that ‘second-hand books are at the top of people’s wish-list’.

Key Takeaways 

  • Coverage on second-hand high-street/designer resale ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%
  • Research suggests Brits are no longer ‘embarrassed’ to purchase or gift second-hand items
  • Electric and cosmetic goods are some of the most likely to be refurbished or resold
  • Low-cost high street and supermarket items are producing higher resale profit than luxury items
  • National outlets are most interested in how brands are entering the resale market, whereas local/regional outlets are engaged in specific case studies of consumers budgeting and third-party resellers

Why are consumers rushing to resell low-cost items?

While the resale of luxury goods is gaining record-high interest, it is not the only sector affected by the dovetailed growth of inflation and independent resellers. Second-hand high street products are receiving a   significantly higher level of coverage, with national publications particularly interested in specific examples of high profit margins on low-cost items.

For example, Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ toy caused the second-biggest upsurge in low-cost resale coverage throughout November, when 222 national and regional articles reported consumers successfully reselling it on eBay for up to £1,000. Similarly, 168 regional and local news sources wrote of how Primark’s Stranger Things range has returned to stores after reselling for up to £150.

Share of Voice: Top 5 resale brands

*Data analysis of all second-hand UK brand coverage with mention of the cost-of-living crisis or luxury/high street resale between 17 Oct – 21 Nov.

Over the last month, eBay has continued to lead the conversation around both luxury and high street resale. While 38% of coverage is a passing mention, 52% was positively attributed to the brand’s new pre-owned store in New York – where consumers can use ‘luxury as currency’. This term was featured in 92% of the total 686 UK headlines, which later evolved into a phrase used by international publications for the wider movement towards luxury resale.

Meanwhile, both Vinted and Depop’s coverage was between 40% and 50% passing mentions, while 32% of all resale brand coverage mentioned them both within the body of the article. Some of the most common examples were case studies in general news publications and research articles in PR and comms outlets. The overarching theme has been how both brands offer quality and affordable Christmas gifts in the cost-of-living crisis, which leveraged an 88% positive sentiment rate on this coverage.

Which brands are most mentioned within resale coverage?

*Data analysing mentions of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage between 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

The risk behind refurbs

Since 17 Oct, the Vuelio Insights team has identified 1,862 articles discussing resale products across UK news and industry publications. Within 8% of this coverage, consumer charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) were quoted in a widely repurposed article titled ‘Cost of living pushes shoppers towards second-hand electrical goods, says charity’.

Furthermore, Dyson was most often mentioned as the product worth buying second-hand. For example, ‘Refurbished Dyson airwraps on sale at eBay in time for Christmas gifting’ was published by The Independent on 21 November and has been syndicated 102 times since. Dyson is the certified seller of these refurbished products, meaning this coverage is not as much of a loss to the brand as if it were a third-party seller. However, because of this peak in refurb interest, local and regional outlets have started picking up on ‘horror’ stories on the most sought-after brands. Almost 200 articles with similar headlines to ‘Ebay won’t refund my £475 faulty  Dyson airwrap’ and  ‘Amazon Prime Day £35 hair styler shoppers say is ‘much better’ than Dyson Airwrap’ have ultimately outweighed Dyson’s positive coverage as a certified eBay seller.

The CEO of second-hand tech seller Back Market has been heavily quoted in coverage around electric resale, stating that its ethos is to close the ‘trust gap’ and ‘make refurbs cool’.

Third-party partnerships

As for the fashion brands mentioned within resale coverage, 86% of the discussion is tied to global retailers partnering with third-party resellers as a means to offer second-hand luxury items. While many designers refuse direct distribution of their products, over 448 publications across general news, fashion and beauty have reported on the growing availability.

For example, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Prada and Gucci were mentioned in 289 headlines between 16 Oct – 30 Oct when Amazon announced it would be listing the brands’ bags as part of its Luxury Store launch, through second-hand distributor What Goes Around Comes Around.

Amazon was not alone in its well-timed partnership, in among this courage Primark was also praised for a similar launch. Between 18 Nov and 23 Nov, 82 news and fashion publications shared 106 articles about the high street store’s ‘WornWell’ collaboration with The Vintage Wholesale Company. As a result, brands often spotted there such as Burberry, YSL, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Converse, Levi’s and Dr. Martens have all received a significant upsurge in passing mentions.

Competitor strategies

In a bid to compete with the likes of eBay, many high street brands have attempted to regain control by promoting or launching their own resale and refurb lines. For example, Zara received a significant peak in coverage from 18-28 Oct following the announcement of its repair and resale shop ‘Pre-owned’. Similarly, Coach was mentioned in 86 regional outlets 26-28 Oct, following the opening of its London pop-up ‘Tomorrow’s Vintage’.

On the other hand, some brands are opting to take the consumer-led route. For example, local and regional outlets have used the phrase ‘Bargain Box’ in 102 headlines since 20 October, referring to return palettes that can be bought from John Lewis, Argos and Very. M&S is leading coverage around fashion rental, a proactive peak in coverage at the beginning of November following a successful press release on ‘putting value and versatility at the heart’ of its rental collection. This quote was used in 56% of the total 202 national and regional news articles until 5 Nov.

What are the most common types of coverage?

*Data analysis of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage (1,862 articles) 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

Since 17 Oct, the highest-reaching resale coverage has been produced by general news, celebrity/gossip magazines, tech and business publications. Aside from the wider industry discussion of ‘luxury as currency’ and high street resale strategies, product reviews were one of the most prominent article types and are up 62% from 2021. These articles are comparative in nature by putting a luxury product against a budget alternative, i.e. ‘Aldi shoppers rave over Le Creuset dupe’. Alongside Dyson, brands like The North Face, Adidas and the White Company were found within a collective 369 articles similar to this.

Case studies have also increased by 8% since last Christmas. The cosmetics industry has gained the most awareness within this coverage, primarily due to headlines like ‘Makeup Artist saves hundreds buying second-hand makeup on eBay’ which was shared 86 times by local and regional news outlets. This increase produced an upsurge in resale risk for brands like Dior and Charlotte Tilbury.

Unaffected markets

Given the level of investment from second-hand brands and retail competitors, the rise of luxury and high street resale is not predicted to cool-off any time soon. However, this is not a call to action for all brands.

Unlike the pandemic, the cost-of-living is not a crisis that affects everyone equally. Over the last month, 16% of coverage approached the resale discussion from a wealth perspective. For example, an article by The Independent titled ‘Luxury goods boom in Britain as the young, rich and mortgage-free buck the recession’ explored how high-end watches are now seen as an ‘investment’, when they are purchased new by consumers for the purpose of profiteering.

James Ison, the self-styled Deal Maker For The 0.1%, was quoted 89 times within this coverage when he stated that that those who can afford very high-end luxury products appear to be ‘having a Yolo moment’ following the pandemic, often ‘spending five figures in an afternoon’. This consumer psyche also appears to take place outside of retail, such as the emergence of ‘The Lipstick Effect’ within the dining industry.

Vuelio’s Top 3 Recommendations

  1. Measure the crisis – Take some time to measure the impact of inflation in your target market(s). Following the pandemic, many brands have automatically applied another blanket crisis comms strategy to their entire audience, even though the degree of financial struggle varies greatly. If you are a very high-end luxury brand, the likelihood of consumers investing and profiting on your products is a greater risk than a visible loss in revenue.
  1. If you cannot beat them, join themResearch how prominent your brand is within resale media coverage and on second-hand sites. If you find your brand is at risk, the success of Zara, Coach and M&S’s rival lines suggest it would be better to invest in the trend than attempt to eliminate it.

  2. Prioritise sustainibility comms While cost-of-living is the leading reason for the rise in second-hand purchases, resale will likely hold value long after the economy stabilises. Over the past year, sustainability has transformed from an ethical preference to a consumer demand. It is the most-used word in relation to ‘The Rise of ESG’ and, as over half of Brits worry about the impact of Christmas on the climate, it will continue to hold an important place in the lifecycle resale trends.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.