Rustlers is dropping scantily clad girls from its ads - and replacing them with a “hunger monkey” - in a bid to appeal to older consumers.

The brand has previously targeted 16 to 24-year-old lads via risqué ads such as 2012’s Fit As a Butcher’s Daughter push - which got it rapped by the ASA following complaints over racy online videos.

Brand owner Kepak Convenience Foods has invested £1.5m in a new TV push that it claimed reflected the brand’s “maturing profile” and would widen its target audience to 16 to 34-year-old men and women.

The brand’s marketing traditionally had a “male-led mentality” despite women making up 40% of its customers, said marketing director John Armstrong. Running from 3 February, the new ad shows a man in his late 20s being bothered by a “hunger monkey” demanding food.

Sales of Rustlers have risen 1.2% year on year to £79.8m on static volumes [Nielsen 52 w/e 18 October 2013], and Kepak is hoping to grow the brand to £125m over the next five years. It is planning NPD, on-pack activity and a packaging relaunch for summer.

News of the push comes seven months after Kepak unveiled its HQT (hot, quick and tasty) initiative to merchandise microwave snacks, chilled soups, convenience pastries and hot pots on one fixture.

Kepak said category sales at Tesco, which adopted HQT across its stores, had risen 33% [IRI 52 w/e 30 November 2013], adding that the concept was now being trialled in The Co-op, Mace and Londis.