Dolmio is axing its real-life Italian brand ambassadors and replacing them with cartoon substitutes.

Marketing chiefs behind the Masterfoods-owned brand have decided to take a different tack to push the top selling tomato pasta sauces, aiming to make the brand an essential shopping list item.

They claimed the previous advertising campaign, which showed good looking Italians enjoying themselves around the dinner table, had tried to make the brand “aspirational” rather than an everyday meal solution.

New ads will hit screens on September 8 as part of an £11m push behind the brand.The characters are headed by Papa and Mama Dolmio in a series of mildly humorous ads designed to appeal to mums and bearing the catchline ‘When’sa your Dolmio day?’.

The ads have already been well received in Australia, said the company, where they carry a more corny catchline ‘Wear the Dolmio grin’ - deemed inappropriate for more cynical British consumers.

Trade relations manager Sam McElligott said the new advertising approach was aimed to grow the brand’s market leading share even further. “Our research shows that 57% of UK families regularly sit down to eat spaghetti bolognaise,” she said. “While this makes it one of the nation’s favourite dishes, it also shows there is room for growth. This new investment will bring key values of warmth, fun and family to the brand.”