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LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Danone unveiled its biggest ever dairy ad campaign on Wednesday, hoping to revive sales growth of its top yogurt brand Activia by focusing on global pop star Shakira, instead of specific health claims whose permissibility varies by country.
The French food group will launch the campaign in 55 countries with print, outdoor and digital advertisements, as well as television commercials featuring the Colombian singer's new song.
"For the first time we are using a global celebrity so we aim to have a global impact," Santiago Mier, the chief marketing officer of Danone Dairy, told Reuters.
"It's different also in the way we communicate with people, in a more modern and updated way," he added, declining to give details on the cost of the campaign.
Earlier Activia ads featured American actress Jamie Lee Curtis talking frankly about digestive health. While the younger Shakira will not speak specifically about digestion, the tagline is "feeling good starts from the inside".
Activia had global sales last year of about 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion), roughly flat with the prior year.
Mier said emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and China were performing well, while markets in Europe were hurt by the economic downturn.
In Switzerland, Danone can claim the "probiotic" cultures in Activia "contribute to digestive comfort by reducing transit time and bloating" though the European Union does not permit such claims.
Danone is the world's biggest yogurt company, with 20 percent of a global retail market worth $80.4 billion a year, according to Euromonitor International.
$1 = 0.7212 Euros Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Mark Potter