The makers of Fisherman’s Friend are hoping to attract a younger crowd with a radical new marketing campaign and the brand’s first new variant in two years.

Lancashire-based owner Lofthouse of Fleetwood is investing £750,000 in marketing this year, 20% more than in 2007, in a campaign kicking off in Fresher’s Week at seven universities in the north of England – the brand’s heartland.

The campaign will include posters, sampling activity and a competition to find the region’s strongest student, which will be promoted and presented by 90s Gladiators Jet and Hunter.

Lofthouse is also extending its sponsorship of the World’s Strongest Man competition, televised on Five. “We had great success with the sponsorship last year when each programme attracted more than a million viewers,” said Martin Stimson, area manager for sales and marketing company Impex Stimson. 

The company is also launching a blackcurrant flavour to replace Super Strong Mint in the seven strong line-up. “Blackcurrant is the most popular flavour in medicated confectionery, accounting for more than 40% of all sales,” said Stimson. “By launching flavours that have strong appeal we hope to shift perceptions of the brand and increase the occasions on which people want to enjoy a Fisherman’s Friend.”

The medicated confectionery market is worth £109m [Nielsen MAT to February 2008].