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Colin and Cuthbert caterpillar cake clash concludes in court

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By John Glenday | Reporter

February 2, 2022 | 3 min read

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An unlikely flashpoint of supermarket rivalry has been settled after Marks & Spencer and Aldi reached an out of court settlement over a copyright claim centered on Colin the Caterpillar.

Colin the Caterpillar

Colin and Cuthbert caterpillar cake clash concludes in court

The elongated cake has become a popular treat for M&S shoppers, inspiring a doppelganger cake at discount rivals Aldi, which launched Cuthbert the Caterpillar.

M&S’s legal team did not prescribe to the maxim that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, launching legal proceedings to maintain their monopoly on multi-limbed cakes with names beginning with the letter ’C’.

The backroom deal, which has not been made public, will banish Cuthbert in his present guise from Aldi shelves in favor of a more differentiated design, ending a year-long courtroom tussle.

In a statement, M&S said: ”The objective of the claim was to protect the [intellectual property] in our Colin the Caterpillar cake and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

Likewise claiming victory, Aldi issued its upbeat take, declaring: ”Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans again very soon!” An accompanying teaser tweet from the grocer promised fans their first taste of the new look Cuthy B as early as this spring.

M&S first unleashed Colin the Caterpillar in 1990, racking up an impressive 15m cake sales to date and inspiring a host of imitators, from Tesco’s Curly to Asda’s Clyde and Cecil from Waitrose. Thus far it has only been Aldi that has drawn the attention of M&S lawyers for straying a little too close for comfort to the trademarked ’Colin the Caterpillar’ name and packaging.

Aldi has reveled in the free publicity generated by the clash, launching its #FreeCuthbert campaign to galvanize public support. M&S meanwhile has been embroiled in copyright disputes of its own amid accusations it plagiarized a recipe from Indian restaurant chain Dishoom and aped the Lacoste crocodile logo on its clothing range.

Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Aldi

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M&S Food

We are a food specialist, not a supermarket. Our products are made exclusively for M&S and this unique position means they are not comparable with the rest of the market. We're known for the quality, innovation and specialty of our food which in 2015/16 represented 58% of our turnover.

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