Unilever is repositioning its Magnum ice cream as an everyday treat with the help of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria.

As part of a major overhaul of the brand, Longoria will front a multimillion-pound campaign - its biggest ever - to promote new Magnum Minis, which hit shelves this month.

The pan-European campaign, which kicks off in April, will push the message that mini Magnums, which come in multipacks of six and are half the size of the standard ice cream, are ideal all year round.

The idea was to make ice ice cream sales less reliant on the vagaries of the British summer, following the particularly poor season last year, said senior brand manager Anna Ford.

"After the terrible weather in 2007, with the floods and rain, we became more aware of the need to address the frequency of consumption of Magnum," she said.

"We're making Magnum less seasonal and more everyday indulgence."

The overall ice-cream market fell 4% in the year to December, with a 13.5% fall in impulse singles and a 5.5% drop in the value of multipacks [IRI]. The £77m Magnum brand recorded a 3% sales increase in the same period with a 12.9% increase in multipacks, while impulse singles slumped 7.3% .

The brand is also launching a new premium variant, Mayan Mystica, to sit alongside last year's newcomer Ecuador Dark, which became the biggest selling new product in 2007, according to IRI. The impulse single, which will also come in a multi-pack of three, is a chocolate ice cream covered in milk chocolate flavoured with cinnamon, honey and nutmeg.

The TV, press and in-store campaign was designed to appeal to existing, new and lapsed Magnum consumers and would be hard to miss, said Ford.

"The ad campaign starring Eva is going to be everywhere," she said.

The minis, which have an rsp of £2.99, come in three varieties: a mixed pack of Classic, Almond and White; a pack with two new flavours, Double Caramel and Double Chocolate; and a single-flavour multipack of Dark Chocolate & Strawberry. The latter marks Magnum's first foray into the fruit ice cream category.