Plans to place giant statues of the cartoon character SpongeBob in the sea off one of France's top natural sites have been scrapped in the face of stiff local opposition.
Nickelodeon, the US children's television network, wanted to place several four-metre statues under water off the Calanques - deep narrow inlets noted for their biodiversity - near the southern city of Marseille.
The idea was that children would be able to see them when they took diving lessons in the area, Thierry Reboul of the public relations agency working for Nickelodeon on the project, said on Wednesday.
But the plan was scrapped after local activists opposed it, arguing that that the spectacular natural site should not be used for marketing purposes.
Much of the action in the Sponge Bob series centres on the adventures of the title character and his friends in the submarine city of Bikini Bottom.