General Mills is ramping up its marketing activity for Green Giant this year after sales growth outstripped overall growth in the canned vegetable category almost fivefold last year following the brand's sponsorship of Neighbours.

It is spending £4m this year on Green Giant "slightly" up on last year's Giant Tea Time campaign, which included a three-month sponsorship of Neighbours in August.

Ed Culf, marketing director at General Mills, said the activity helped Green Giant's overall sales grow 5% to £46m in the year to 27 November [IRI]. The overall canned category edged up just 1.1% to £68.8m.

"Last year's campaign resulted in increased penetration for the brand," said Culf. "This year we are ­trying different things. We are experimenting with outdoor advertising."

A four-week TV burst will run from February, repeating the Grow Up commercial from 2010.