Jenson Button (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right) photographed for Diageos latest F1 campaign

Jenson Button (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right) photographed for Diageo's latest F1 campaign

Diageo is looking to build on strong momentum for Johnnie Walker by expanding a campaign based on the brand's association with Formula One racing.

The drinks giant said on Friday (25 March) that its latest campaign, Step Inside the Circuit, will be launched in around 30 markets over the next year, following a successful trial in eight markets in December 2010.

Diageo used the campaign at the first F1 race of the season, in Melbourne, Australia, over the weekend. The campaign provides consumers with the chance to look "behind the scenes" at F1 and at the lifestyles of top drivers.

Since signing a deal with McLaren Mercedes in 2005, Diageo has used Formula One as a vehicle for promoting Johnnie Walker, particularly in emerging markets. In particular, the group has linked up with McLaren's current two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

"Johnnie Walker continues to outpace the Scotch Whisky category in sales and much of its growth is occurring in the super premium level and in emerging markets,” said Diageo's global category director for whiskies, David Gates. “The ‘Step Inside the Circuit’ campaign will continue Diageo’s commitment to this category and this brand by further investing in its growth.”

In the first half of Diageo's current fiscal year, to the end of December 2010, Johnnie Walker reported sales increases of 11% and 10% in volume and value respectively.