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“Food Lion PR turnaround a textbook case” from Charlotte Business Journal

CharlotteBJ1997
To make its case against Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in the public’s eye as much as in court, Food Lion Stores Inc. created a communications juggernaut for its six-week trial against the network, even hiring a Los Angeles public relations agency that has worked with such high-profile clients as Kim Bassinger.

The use of Sitrick & Co., which PR industry experts estimate could have cost the Salisbury-based grocer up to $300 an hour, is the most visible example of what Food Lion learned from its much-criticized reaction to the 1992 PrimeTime Live show that accused it of improper food handling.

Then, the fast-growing chain, led by Chairman Tom Smith, reacted angrily, attacking the media and doing little to tell its side of the story. Food Lion didn’t just learn its lesson, industry experts say, it created a textbook case for proactive corporate communications.

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