On Thursday 15 April, the English supermarket chain Marks & Spencer initiated a legal procedure for the theft of intellectual property against the competing chain Aldi Uk. At the center of the dispute is “Colin the Caterpillar”, a cake packaged in the shape of a caterpillar that, according to the accusations, Aldi has copied. What is “Colin the Caterpillar”?
It is a sponge cake roll covered with dark chocolate and chocolate pralines, with the face and legs made of white chocolate. Marks & Spencer has been selling it since 1990, despite having modified it several times over the years. Over the years the brand has expanded: “Connie”, “Colin’s” girlfriend, and a cake in a jar were introduced. Effective and tasty, “Colin” is one of Marks & Spencer’s best-selling products, so much so that, according to The Guardian, more than 15,000 were sold a week in spring 2020.
– PrimaryCoHead (@PrimaryCoHead) April 15, 2021
It is therefore no coincidence that in all this time other British chains have tried to emulate its success. And so “Clyde the Caterpillar” appeared on the shelves of Asda. Tesco proposed “Curly the Caterpillar” and Sainsbury’s “Wiggles the Caterpillar”. Morrison’s began selling “Morris the Caterpillar”. And then Waitrose’s “Cecil the Caterpillar” and Co-Op’s “Charlie the Caterpillar” (nothing to do with Coop) appeared. Yet despite all these “homages” so similar to the original, Marks & Spencer never lifted a finger until Aldi Uk proposed “Cuthbert the Caterpillar”.
This time, however, the legal team of the chain got in motion and sued the AldiUk chain before the High Court for infringement of intellectual property. The reason is that this time the cake is too similar, compared to the previous ones. Marks & Spencer accuses Aldi of wanting to ride the success of ‘Colin’ with an almost identical and less expensive product (‘Colin’ costs 7 pounds, while ‘Cuthbert’ costs 5), but of poorer quality. The chain therefore expects the competitor to withdraw his “caterpillar” from sale and never offer something similar again. “Because we know how special the M&S brand is to our customers and how much they expect only the best from us,” a spokesperson for the chain told the BBC, “we want to protect ‘Colin’, ‘Connie’ and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value “.
In response, the Aldi Uk social team launched the #FreeCuthbert campaign on Twitter, stating that “Cuthbert was found guilty … of being delicious” and also saying: “We’ll be” Colin “or lawyers (a pun based on on the assonance between the English pronunciation of “calling” and “Colin”) ». In response, the hashtag #SaveColin was also launched.