Top of the month: Iceland distances itself from prosecution of 'dumpster divers'

PRWeek digital editor Lynsey Barber applauds frozen food retailer Iceland for telling the CPS it did not instigate or agree with the prosecution of three people accused of taking food from the bins outside its Kentish Town store.

What brand doesn’t find itself at the centre of a social media storm these days? Iceland became the latest to do so after it emerged a group of ‘dumpster divers’ were being prosecuted for taking discarded food from the bins outside its Kentish Town store.

All this came as a surprise to CEO Malcolm Walker, who swiftly issued a human sounding statement and tweeted the equivalent of ‘weren’t me guv’, as did the retailer’s official account. The CPS subsequently dropped the case.

What a narrative. The villain becomes the hero of the piece, all within a single news cycle. Would any other brand involve itself in a legal matter? One can imagine some dry corporate line about abiding by legal processes.

It helps of course when a social media storm isn’t self-inflicted, but here we saw a textbook example of the value to a business of a CEO who gets PR.

The CPS could certainly learn a thing or two.

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