The last couple of days have seen the normally peaceful shoppers of Marks and Spencer and Aldi, go to war on social media over a cause that many of them are willing to put their life on the line for.
The matter involves animal rights, criminal justice system and charges of impersonation, it just so happens that the person at the centre of the debate isn’t a person… it’s a chocolate caterpillar by the name of Cuthbert or Colin (depending on which side of the fence you’re on).
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Marks and Spencer and Aldi shoppers’ feud over Colin the Caterpillar has become heated, as the two supermarkets enter a legal battle over copyright of the popular cake.
M&S has started legal action against Aldi in an effort to protect its cake with a claim that its rival’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar product infringes its trademark.
Throughout the week Aldi’s social media team seemed to be enjoying making jokes at the M&S’s expense, even mocking the famous supermarket’s tagline by, saying “This is not just any court case, this is… #FreeCuthbert.”
However, after a non-stop couple of days of jokes, Aldi tried to go back to their regular scheduled programming on their Instagram account and post about something other than Cuthbert.
The caption said: “Give your spring buffet the wow factor with our delicious Chicken Katsu Scotch Eggs. Serve hot or cold with a salad and mango chutney. Or why not try these tasty Loaded Houmous Pitta Breads, topped with humous, pepper, cucumber and radish? Find a link in our bio for the recipes and more!”
Shoppers had no interest in finding out more. Instead, they took to the comment section to put the infamous caterpillar back into the spotlight.
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It began with one user commenting: “I came here looking for Cuthbert! [laughing emoji] #FreeCuthbert. This was then followed by countless users expressing the same sentiment with the #FreeCuthbert filling up the whole page.
Even though the picture had nothing to do with Cuthbert another felt compelled to send the caterpillar a message of support. “Stay strong [caterpillar emoji],” the comment said.
M&S launched Colin the Caterpillar around 30 years ago and his appearance has been substantially unchanged since around 2004, except for adaptations for events such as Halloween and Christmas, and related products such as Connie the Caterpillar.
The M&S original has spawned a range of imitators since its launch, such as Sainsbury’s Wiggles, Tesco’s Curly, Morris by Morrisons, the Co-op’s Charlie, Cecil by Waitrose and Asda’s Clyde.
Whilst nobody likes to see Cuthbert going through this battle for his freedom, it is a refreshing show of unity amongst shoppers after a year of panic buying and social distancing.