Aldi puts Marks and Spencer’s in a pickle over charity call for ‘cousins’ of Colin the caterpillar


A public relations move by Aldi put Marks and Spencer Group PLC‘s (LON:MKS) in a potential pickle by calling for all UK caterpillar-shaped cakes to club together to raise money for charity.

After being taken to court over claims its cake is a knock-off of M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar, the German discounter said on Twitter that its Cuthbert the Caterpillar “needs the help of Curly, Clyde, Cecil, Charlie, Morris and Wiggles”, tagging Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO), J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY), Asda, WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC‘s (LON:MRW), John Lewis Partnership‘s Waitrose and Co-op.

READ: Marks And Spencer gets the hump with Aldi over Colin the Caterpillar cake

While Waitrose replied “count us in”, M&S called for Aldi to “use your own character”.

The PR stunt by Aldi comes amid a sour fight over Colin the Caterpillar cake copyrights.

M&S is claiming in the High Court that Aldi’s Cuthbert is a knock-off of its long-running Colin the Caterpillar, a cake that M&S has been selling in its shops since 2004.

“We want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value,” a spokesman for Marks & Spencer said, explaining why it wants Aldi to stop selling the Cuthbert range or anything similar to it in the future.

However, Aldi isn’t the only one to sell a ‘cousin’ of Colin, as Curly, Clyde, Cecil, Charlie, Morris and Wiggles can be bought in the aforementioned UK grocers.

“We deem M&S, and any other brand owner, to be correct to protect its innovation and sub-brands, something that we have been amazed that other brand owners have not been so disciplined about over the years,” analysts at house broker Shore Capital commented.

“And it is not as if the German Aldi discount supermarket does not have much form in this respect.

“Hence, whilst this is good banter of sorts, there is also a serious business protection point; maybe Aldi would like to introduce Wolfgang to the market and see how he does on the shelf-edge.”


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