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File this next to Mars bars under 'things that should not be deep-fried': Marks & Spencer's Colin the Caterpillar
How was this allowed to happen? Ah right, food delivery app publicity stunt
Scotland is brimming with valuable cultural exports. Among them, whacking wee baws doon a field, offal stuffed in offal, men's skirts, and deep-frying things that have no business being deep-fried.
On the latter point, one enterprising food delivery outfit with its finger on the pulse of very important current affairs asked a Lanarkshire chippy owner to drop a whole Colin the Caterpillar cake in his deep-fat fryer.
The monstrosity made its debut at Emanuel's chip shop in East Kilbride on Friday to shock and awe.
Even though a mere glimpse of Marks & Spencer's death-by-chocolate birthday cake is enough to make one wheeze without additional layers of fat wrapped round it, chippy owner Ricky Brandon unquestioningly obeyed the command from local delivery app East Kilbride Eats.
How could this be allowed to happen? If you cast your mind back a few weeks, one of the popular news items not headlined "yes, we're still in a pandemic; no, you can't do anything" regarded a legal spat between M&S and budget supermarket Aldi, whose Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake was accused of infringing Marks and Sparks' Colin the Caterpillar trademark.
If you put the two next to each other, Cuthbert does indeed look like the wonky Aldi knockoff. And much like Cuthbert was accused of riding "on the coat-tails" of M&S's decidedly more upmarket reputation, East Kilbride Eats is riding on the coat-tails of the legal spat to ensure global penetration for the market that is East Kilbride (population: 75,000).
Without a hint of remorse for his miscreation, Brandon told the BBC that an extra-thick batter was required to hold the heart attack together, adding: "For my first attempt, I am not dissatisfied."
He claimed: "The customers who came in and saw it were surprised, saying 'What is that?'," though The Register reckons it was actually more along the lines of:
Your correspondent is about as proud to be Scottish by ancestry and upbringing as one should be (which is to say not at all), having spent a significant portion of my childhood in Aberdeenshire. During those years, I heard tell of deep-fried Mars bars, but not once did I ever see anybody order one, let alone eat one. On that logic, we can but hope that the crispy Colin now festers at the bottom of a bin.
Aldi continued to poke the beast as April went on, announcing that Cuthbert would return temporarily to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, "not lawyers," the shop said on Twitter.
M&S replied, saying that they should probably use a character of their own creation, like Kevin the Carrot. While the IP case rumbles on, legal commentators have pointed out that it may be difficult for M&S to prevail considering that all the British supermarket chains have a caterpillar cake of their own.
Meanwhile, back at Emanuel's, Brandon mused: "I think Cuthbert might fry a little better," which, we can surmise, is precisely what Marks & Spencer would like to see. ®