Cheese manufacturers are defying the recession and increasing their ad spend.

Total category spend on TV and press campaigns jumped 20% year-on-year to £3.2m in the four weeks ending 15 March according to Billetts. The uplift was driven by new TV campaigns from three of the biggest manufacturers.

Kraft Foods-owned Dairylea, Kerry Foods' Cheestrings and Bel UK's Boursin all rolled out new campaigns, taking spend on TV ads up 24% to £3m.

Dairlylea ran an ad with the strap 'It's never grown up', while Cheestrings used Mr Strings to target kids and parents.

Boursin positioned its cheese as the perfect accompaniment to bread and wine in a humorous ad.

Bel's Mini Babybel also received a £726,861 spend on a Comic Relief TV ad featuring tiny singing and dancing factory workers.

Ad spend in the fmcg category generally was down 22% to £61.5m.