Jim Beam plans to steer its marketing away from rock 'n' roll themes and onto sports to boost its profile as the challenger brand to Jack Daniel's.

Annual sales of Bacardi Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's are 15 times bigger than Jim Beam in the UK off-trade and the Maxxium-owned bourbon said 2011 was the time to try and steal market share from its more dominant rival.

Jim Beam wanted to tap into the sector's growing popularity in the wake of increased investment in marketing and distribution by Jack Daniel's, said Maxxium.

A new Super Bowl-themed marketing campaign, which kicked off last week, would add momentum to Jim Beam's UK sales, which rose 16.2% to £6.9m last year, it said.

Most of the activity has taken place in the Newcastle area and involved Super Bowl cheerleaders dressed in Jim Beam-branded clothing visiting supermarkets, bars and retail centres.

Supported by social and digital media, they have been offering consumers discounts of £2 from a bottle of Jim Beam, tickets to sponsored Super Bowl parties and ­other giveaways. The campaign culminates tomorrow (6 February) on Super Bowl Sunday.

"This is a test and learn situation we could possibly expand this kind of marketing to other sports across the UK," said brand manager Steve Batchelor. "We want to take what works best and use it as a new national front, possibly this or next year.

Jim Beam needed to more clearly differentiate itself from Jack Daniel's, he added. "JD does a lot of music and gig marketing, but we will focus on being a drink you watch sports to. You have them being Pete Doherty dark, moody and rock 'n' roll and Jim Beam being more accessible and warm like Jamie Oliver."

Batchelor added that ­supermarket buyers were encouraged by the growth in American spirits and "demanding a strong challenger brand and category alternative to Jack Daniel's".

The Bacardi Brown-Forman brand's sales rose 24% to £105m last year, driving a 14.8% rise in sales of imported whiskey to £169m.