Pernod Ricard has unveiled plans to boost the appeal of Jameson whiskey among young men, aided by the introduction of a smaller bottle size.

The Irish whiskey brand has recorded 6.6% growth to £1.3m this year [Nielsen 52w/e 9 September 2009] but Pernod says there is untapped potential in appealing to younger male consumers.

For the first time in five years Jameson had "the full package" of marketing and trade activity to reach aspirational young consumers, said Patrick Venning, head of marketing for whiskies at Pernod. As part of the new push, Pernod is introducing a 35cl Jameson bottle with the "more accessible" price point of £8.99 to encourage younger consumers to try the drink. The new size will go on sale next year.

"Retailers have spoken to us about providing a smaller-sized bottle, so we are introducing the 35cl size in Tesco to target price-sensitive and convenience shoppers," said Venning. "It also allows those who have trialled the product in the on-trade to sampleJameson without the outlay of purchasing 70cl."

Pernod is running a £1.2m cinema campaign featuring the new strapline 'Easygoing Irish'. The ad, which runs until the end of the year, is set in 1780 and portrays four lads telling tales in a pub while treacherous weather conditions are raging outside.

Sales of Jameson should benefit from a recent consumer swing towards blended whiskey, said one drinks buyer for a high street retailer.

"Drinkers have traditionally been migrating into malt whisky and are more willing to pay a premium for the higher-quality spirit. But in the past six months we have noticed malt drinkers reverting back to blends, like Jameson, because of aggressive pricing on credible brands."

The buyer added that Diageo was missing an opportunity by not increasing the marketing of its Bushmills Irish whiskey.

"I would love to see Bushmills receive some investment. It could result in Diageo tying up the whole Irish drinks market, with Guinness and Bushmills."

Volume sales of spirits grew 0.6% last year [TNS].