Karl Lagerfeld and Rachel Bilson scream for ice cream

Ice cream maker Magnum has teamed up with fashion high priest Karl Lagerfeld and starlet Rachel Bilson to launch its premium brand in the US.

A series of leaked paparazzi photos show what promises to be a glitzy, glamorous ad campaign featuring The O.C. star and fashion trendsetter Rachel Bilson in three short films. Directed by Lagerfeld, who is the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, Bilson incarnates three different characters - all brooding, temperamental artists - who can only be appeased by indulging in Magnum ice cream bars.

While a leading ice cream brand in Europe, Magnum is relatively unknown in the American market. When it hits freezer aisles in April, the frozen dessert bar will be making an aggressive play at market share currently dominated by Dove ice cream bars and Häagen-Dazs.

The three, 90-second spots will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival April 21 in New York City. The first trailer will be released April 19 on Magnum's Facebook page.

In the first vignette, "Photo Mood," Bilson plays a famous, irritable model who seeks pleasure in a Magnum ice cream bar.

In "Applause," Bilson channels Black Swan and plays a prima ballerina who escapes from the throngs of adoring fans and the clutches of her amorous boyfriend by seeking refuge in an ice cream bar. Leaked photos from the Paris film set show Bilson crowned with a sparkling tiara, her brown locks pulled back in a tight bun.

In "Art Class," the premium ice cream brand serves as Bilson's muse. As an obsessive art student, she creates a masterpiece as she indulges in her cravings.

The short films also feature Lagerfeld's personal muse, male model Baptiste Giabiconi, who plays Bilson's spurned lover and photographer.

Succumbing to life's little pleasures is central to the ad campaign as well as Bilson's MO, she said.

"My character believes that a day without pleasure is a day lost," she said in a statement. "... (that's)  my personal philosophy, too."

Using high profile celebrity endorsements and short film montages to sell its ice cream is a favorite marketing strategy for the Unilever brand. In 2008, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria was cast in a series of sexy, glamorous ads to endorse the brand. Benicio Del Toro of Traffic and Snatch fame, also peddled the brand's Magnum Gold series.

Magnum ice cream bars will be available in the US in Magnum Classic (vanilla bean, dipped in Belgian chocolate), Magnum Almond (with almonds), Magnum Double Caramel (with caramel sauce), Magnum White (vanilla ice cream dipped in white chocolate) and Magnum Dark (vanilla ice cream dipped in 60 percent dark chocolate).

Magnum is also present in Turkey and Indonesia and is sold under the name Streets Magnum in Australia and New Zealand.

The ice cream bars will be available nationwide in mid-April at retailers like Walmart, Target, Safeway, Kroger, for between $2.59 to $3.99.

www.magnumicecream.com/

http://www.facebook.com/Magnum

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