Holiday and COP28 News: Press Release Trends from November and December
PR Newswire distributed nearly 40,000 press releases in the U.S. and Canada in November and December 2023 – so we understand if you had trouble keeping up, even if you’re already registered for PR Newswire for Journalists. To help out, our team monitored the headlines for some of the major industries and made note of any trends they spotted.
Not surprisingly, holiday news took over the wire during the last two months of the year. Press releases ranged from gift guides to travel trends, festive events, and much more. But aside from holiday news, we also kept track of big headlines coming out of COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference. Attendees from around the world gathered to discuss what lies ahead for climate change and how industries are adapting and developing innovations and partnerships to counter it. Lastly, the end of the year meant it was the Giving Season, and our team kept a close eye on releases tied to GivingTuesday.
Below, we dig into some of the major news trends over the past couple of months.
🏆 Popular Releases
Regardless of larger trends, some releases just draw a huge audience because they are that big or interesting of a story. These were a few of the most-read releases of November and December, some of which even made our most-read of 2023 list. They covered a wide variety of topics and industries:
- Candle Day Returns: Bath & Body Works claimed the top spot with its multimedia-filled announcement for Annual Candle Day, “the biggest selling day of the year for candles,” which took place in early December.
- Acquisition News: Home Depot shared the news that it plans on acquiring Construction Resources’ parent company International Designs Group as it aims to capture a larger share of the professional (Pro) contractor space.
- Obituary: News of Henry Kissinger’s death at the end of November spread well beyond the wire and landed it in the third spot overall for the November-December period.
- Person of the Year: 2023 was Taylor Swift’s year so it came as no surprise when TIME named her as its Person of the Year — the first winner ever to be recognized for her success in the arts. Readers got a look at the various magazine covers in the press release, which also was a unique standout for including a QR code that directed readers to purchasable covers.
- Black Friday Deals: As you’ll see below, holiday news releases took over the wire during the last months of the year. This one from Big Lots broke down the retailer’s Black Friday deals, which offered as much as 50% off certain items during Thanksgiving weekend.
Below, we dig deeper into the larger trends spotted on the wire.
Festive Holiday News
As expected during the final months of the year, news releases tied to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s were a force across the wire. From Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals to gift guides, recipe recommendations, travel destinations, and more, holiday press releases were as varied as news consumers’ holiday plans. The releases were packed with eye-catching multimedia that kept readers coming back and helped journalists fill out their holiday content calendars.
In all, more than 800 releases sent during the two-month period were tied to one of the three big holidays. Here are some of the most read (aside from the Bath & Body Works and Big Lots stories mentioned above):
- Dry January Prep: Ahead of people’s New Year’s Resolutions to cut back on alcohol, White Claw made waves with its debut of alcohol-free seltzers for adults.
- Holiday Product Announcement: Build-A-Bear Workshop unveiled its new line of products from Sanrio® – best known for its beloved character Hello Kitty® – just in time for holiday shoppers looking to check a gift off their list.
- Black Friday + Travel + New Year’s: British Airways touched on several big trends at once in its November release covering 2024 travel trends and holiday travel savings. According to the airline, a quarter of Americans say their New Year’s resolution is to travel more in 2024 – and many will be heading to Europe.
- Holiday Meal: Red Lobster drew in many readers with its announcement of its limited-time Lobster & Shrimp Celebration and seasonal cocktails. The restaurant also launched holiday-appropriate sides and party platters for those looking to make their holiday meals a breeze.
- “Shiny” News: Dutch Bros brought back the popular Shine add-on, which provides a “swirling luster that makes any iced drink sparkle.”
- Puppies Always Win: Readers can’t help but click on a release that has a photo of a puppy, and this one for PetSmart’s Paws & Claus photo event was no exception.
An honorable mention goes to this release from McKee Foods, which jumped ahead a few holidays with its launch of new Little Debbie treats for Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t gotten through New Year’s yet, but this release generated a ton of views from readers ready for the next big holiday.
Headlines From COP28
The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28, was held in the United Arab Emirates in November and December. Despite controversies surrounding the host country and the event president’s dedication to phasing out fossil fuels, the event still attracted a record 84,000 attendees from around the world to discuss ways to fight climate change. “Whilst we didn’t turn the page on the fossil fuel era in Dubai, this outcome is the beginning of the end,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell in his closing speech.
During the last two months of 2023, PR Newswire distributed more than 300 releases related to COP28. Topics included sustainable investing, renewable energy, net zero goals, extreme weather, and more. Here are just a few of the COP28 press releases:
- Sustainable Water Solutions: ENGIE announced the launch of its Desalination Center of Excellence, through which it aims to “secure access to sustainable water for people so that future generations flourish and live in harmony.”
- Moving Toward Net Zero: During the event, Budweiser’s APAC division shared how it’s progressing toward its goal of net zero across its value chain by 2040.
- Sustainable Logistics: Over 60 organizations from across the energy-maritime value chain gathered at COP28 to lay out the shipping industry’s tangible solutions to meet net-zero targets by or around 2050.
- Youth and Women Fight Climate Change: Schneider Electric signed an agreement with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture to empower women and youth to drive change through “green education, skills development and a renewed focus on sustainable agriculture.”
- Climate’s Impact on Education: Education Cannot Wait used its platform at COP28 to highlight the effects of extreme weather, including floods and droughts, on children’s education. According to the organization’s data, over the last 10 years, 31 million school-aged children have been displaced by the climate crisis, with 13 million in the last three years alone.
The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been recognized as GivingTuesday (yes, it’s one word!) since it was created in 2012. While it’s since expanded to a year-round movement that encourages people to give back and do good, the Tuesday near the end of the year is still a focal point for brands looking to show their generosity.
Data found that in 2023, 34 million adults in the U.S. participated in GivingTuesday and more than $3 billion was raised from giving in the U.S. alone. Nearly 100 press releases announcing GivingTuesday initiatives crossed the wire in November and December.
Catch up with these releases:
- NFL Players Help Fund Diabetes Research: For its annual “My Cause My Cleats” campaign, diabetes research funder JDRF teamed up with NFL players to wear custom-painted cleats during selected games to raise awareness and funds for charitable causes close to their hearts.
- Credit Union Gives Back: Teachers Federal Credit Union ended its Season of Giving campaign by donating $50,000 to three non-profit organizations, bringing the credit union’s total 2023 charitable giving contribution to more than $800,000 across 75 non-profit organizations.
- Books (and Bears) Donation: To celebrate GivingTuesday, Build-A-Bear announced its promise to donate one million books and 100,000 bears through First Book by 2027 to help drive children’s literacy.
- Hunger Relief Efforts: Applegate and Justin’s announced their joint support of Conscious Alliance’s 2023 “Stop Hunger In Its Tracks” holiday meal campaign. The companies donated $20,000, the equivalent of 40,000 meals.
- Making Travel Accessible: Expedia launched its new Made to Travel™ Fund, which rewards organizations that are removing barriers to travel by making it more accessible to underserved or underrepresented travelers.
Find more like this: Read our recent news trends recaps from the Public Interest, Health, People/Culture, and Finance industries to see how brands across verticals gave back on GivingTuesday and during the wider giving season.
More News Trends
Want to dive deeper into the news trends for the industry you cover? Our team has compiled the trends and top releases across more than 10 industries for November and December. Find them all on PR Newswire’s Resource Center.
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Rocky Parker is the Manager of Audience and Journalist Engagement at Cision PR Newswire. She's been with the company since 2010 and has worked with journalists and bloggers as well as PR and comms professionals. Outside of work, she can be found trying a new recipe, binging a new show, or cuddling with her pitbull, Hudson.