Diageo has hailed the repositioning of J&B for improving the Scotch whisky brand's performance.

The company has seen J&B's performance in new markets make up for static sales in its traditional stronghold of Spain. Between 2005 and 2007, volumes for J&B were flat at 5.9m nine-litre cases. However, for the six months to the end of December, volumes rose by 4.5%, while net sales were up by 8.1% year-on-year.

Speaking in Scotland yesterday (19 March), Charles Allen, Diageo's malt whisky and Scotch heritage director, said: "Since we rolled out our portfolio strategy in emerging markets, spearheaded by Johnnie Walker, we've found that younger consumers like the aspirational aspects of whisky, but they still want to have fun.

"We subsequently repositioned J&B as a party whisky, with the 'Start a Party' campaign. This has been successful in capturing younger consumers in markets such as Mexico, Turkey and Argentina."

The 'Start a Party' campaign, launched early last year, has used a disco mirror ball to draw a link between parties and J&B. Also included in the campaign has been the invitation to impromptu parties in "totemic" locations, including Tiananmen Square in Beijing and a major shopping complex in Istanbul.

Wilson conceded that "Spain has been fairly flat for the whole (Scotch whisky) category in recent years".

The company also said that, later this year, it will run a further wave of parties to be held in Spain, Turkey, China and Mexico.