Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
Colin the Caterpillar: James O'Brien's theory on why M&S is suing Aldi
16 April 2021, 14:45 | Updated: 16 April 2021, 14:57
After having a fervent discussion with listeners for an hour, James O'Brien revealed his own theory on why M&S is suing Aldi over the Colin the Caterpillar "lookalike" cake.
M&S has lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week against Aldi, arguing that the similarity of the budget supermarket's caterpillar product implies to consumers they are the same standard.
M&S insists that Aldi's Cuthbert the Caterpillar "rides on the coat-tails" of the much-loved Colin, calling for their version to be removed from sale, alongside a promise not to sell anything similar henceforth.
James set his listeners to task to ascertain why M&S was suing Aldi over Cuthbert when many supermarket brands have copied Colin - with Waitrose's Cecil, Sainsbury's Wiggle and Morrison's Morris the Caterpillar, to name a few.
Explaining his theory on the row, James said: "It's all about the face."
"So if you look at all the other [caterpillar-based] cakes that are for sale from the various supermarkets...they are similar but not really similar to the Colin the Caterpillar cake.
"If you look at the [Aldi] Cuthbert cake...not only is it physically similar, but the cake face is solid chocolate. [It's] solid chocolate, like a proper chunk of chocolate.
"And I think I'm right in saying that the face of the cake has become a brand in and of its own."
James summarised: "And so it's the similarity crossed with the USP that has caused concern at Marks & Spencers, the concern being that it's just too similar to [their] cake."
Many callers came up with theories including that legal action has been launched due to snobbery over association with Aldi or a beneficial PR spin for Marks & Spencer.
A spokesman for M&S has said: "Because we know the M&S brand is special to our customers and they expect only the very best from us, love and care goes into every M&S product on our shelves.
"So we want to protect Colin, Connie and our reputation for freshness, quality, innovation and value."