Smirnoff Ice is setting its sights on male drinkers with a new campaign using “streetwise” slang and the theme of a lads’ night out.

The £8.5m TV and poster campaign carries the tagline ‘Lyriquid Perfection’ - a play on the phrases lyrical perfection and liquid perfection - in a bid to connect with its target audience of men aged between 18 and 24.

The ads are designed to move the RTD’s positioning on from the cheeky ‘As clear as your conscious’ campaign.

Two posters will appear nationwide using “unique language” to “bring to life the way lads gain kudos from telling each other stories of their nights out”.

A TV commercial also kicks off this week with the same theme.

Meanwhile, rival RTD supplier Beverage Brands has hit out at claims that the market is struggling.

Karen Salters, marketing manager at the company, which owns the WKD brand, said: “A lot of emphasis has been placed on the impact that last year’s duty increase had on the category, but this is just one of many influences contributing to the category’s performance. Some brands - both established and relatively new - are still showing phenomenal growth rates.”

However, a buyer for one of the leading multiples said: “RTD’s are having a tough time. Some brands are doing reasonably well but growth has slowed.”

Last week, The Grocer revealed that Blue Nun had delayed the launch of its RTD brand Slinky because of the “difficulties” faced by the category.