Danone has launched an offensive in the US’s fast-growing Greek yoghurt category with a brand relaunch and an advertising campaign that targets market leader Chobani.

The French food group has dropped the Dannon Greek brand and renamed the product Dannon Oikos Greek to tap into the popularity of sister brand Stonyfield Organic Oikos Greek yoghurt.

A new advertising campaign for Dannon Oikos started today (8 August) using actor John Stamos.

The ad also includes a claim that consumers prefer the berry-flavoured Dannon Oikos Greek to Chobani by a margin of “two-to-one”, a spokesman for Dannon, Danone’s US arm, said.

“In the food category, taste is king and our products are superior,” the spokesman told just-food.

Chobani, which was launched by privately-owned Agro Farma in 2007, gained national distribution in the US last year. In March, it was named the best-selling new food brand in SymphonyIRI’s annual poll of the most popular new food and drink products.

In an interview with just-food in April, Chobani’s vice president of marketing, Doron Stern, said Chobani accounted for 57% of Greek yoghurt sales in the US.

In recent months, however, Kraft Foods has launched a marketing campaign for its Athenos brand, General Mills started an advertising push for a relaunched Yoplait Greek last week and now Danone has kicked off its own offensive.

The spokesman said Danone believed the Oikos brand would benefit from the company’s marketing push.

“It’s the number three brand and we believe the investment that we are adding will change that,” he said. “We believe that we can improve the brand’s stature in Greek.”

The spokesman said Danone was “clearly” branding the yoghurts differently “to preclude any possible confusion” between the conventional Dannon Oikos Greek and the organic Stonyfield product.