Rosie Davenport
The trade has backed Bacardi Breezer's decision to axe Tom Cat from its advertising.
The move, which Bacardi-Martini puts down to a need to create "new news" behind the brand and lift the "depressed" ready-to-drink (RTD) sector, puts an end to the feline's career of over three years.
Marketing director at Bacardi-Martini Maurice Doyle said: "Every campaign has a shelf life and in such a dynamic, rapidly changing market consumers are easily bored. It was time for something new and time to give Tom a break.
"The RTD category is currently depressed through lack of innovation. It needs new news which is our firm focus."
Doyle was tightlipped about the direction of the brand's new marketing but brand consultants believe it could spell a move towards more male-orientated ads which would be more in keeping with rival RTDs.
Paul Cowper, brand consultant at Brandsmiths, said: "Bacardi Breezer needs to consolidate its grip on the market because it has to get a greater share of consumers' attention. The cat was a bit cute and girly and they might be looking to do something that has more of a unisex appeal."
Buyers also backed Bacardi-Martini's decision to give Tom Cat the elbow to make way for a marketing overhaul.
Sainsbury's spirit and RTD buyer, Henry Stephenson, said the writing had been on the wall for some time.
"It's not a kneejerk reaction. They already use Vinnie Jones to advertise Bacardi rum, maybe they'll go down the same route and make Bacardi Breezer appeal more to men."