Gordon Ramsay's suitability as brand ambassador for Gordon's gin is being called into question as sales fall.

Diageo, which is pouring another £750,000 into its tie-up with the celebrity chef this Christmas, has seen volume sales of its market-leading gin drop 3% over the past year [Nielsen]. This, claim industry commentators, is down to premiumisation in the market and Ramsay's dwindling popularity.

"A lot of Gordon's fans will be stalwart gin drinkers who want that classic stamp of quality. I'm not sure a foul-mouthed, top-flight chef with a bad reputation is what they're looking for," said Alan Morri­son, branding consultant at The Value Engineers.

The arrival of new premium gins over the past year, such as Beefeater 24, suggests consumers are interested in provenance and ingredients, rather than buying into the "marketing hype that surrounds celebrities", said the CEO of a rival gin brand.

The gin market is becoming increasingly sophisticated, agreed Kate Waddell, MD of consumer brands at Dragon Rouge. "Ramsay has been over-hyped and commercialised. When a category is in the ascendant and getting cool again, this would seem the wrong tack to be pursuing," she said.

Despite the drop in sales, Ramsay will return to TV for Gordon's this Christ­mas in the Perfect G&T ad that first appeared in July. It will run until the end of the year.