V&S Group is mulling whether to launch a television push behind flagship vodka Absolut in the UK.

The Swedish state-owned spirits group is planning to embark on a major marketing campaign in the UK, where sales of Absolut soared by a third last year.

In the past, V&S has tended to use events-based marketing or print advertising to promote Absolut in the UK. However, Jonas Tåhlin, zone director for Western Europe at V&S Absolut Spirits, the company's premium spirits business, said that V&S has earmarked the UK as one of its "focus" markets worldwide.

He said that, although V&S had already finalised its UK marketing plans for the first half of 2007, TV advertising could be on the cards for later in the year.

"We are certainly open to looking at TV advertising as a medium in the UK for the future, although there aren't any immediate plans," Tåhlin told just-drinks today (19 March). "However, it's certainly a possibility."

During the coming months, Tåhlin said V&S would focus its efforts in the UK on the local launch of the grapefruit-flavoured Absolut Ruby Red. Looking further afield, Tåhlin said the company would look to unveil its marketing plans for European markets in the next month. He highlighted Germany, Spain, Greece and Sweden as key vodka markets on the continent this year.

Absolut sales rose by 7% last year, with the brand now seeing over half of its sales come from outside the US.

The brand looks set to be the subject of an international takeover battle in the coming months. The Swedish government plans to privatise V&S and a sale is likely to attract a number of the world's spirits giants.

Bacardi has publicly registered its interest in buying Absolut, while Pernod Ricard, Diageo and Fortune Brands have also been tipped as likely bidders.