Fans of French comic book hero Asterix will know how the indomitable little Gaul fought tooth and nail to preserve the independence of his village from occupation at the hands of Julius Caesar.

The combined might of the Roman legions, however, appears to have nothing on the wallet of McDonald’s, which has broken down the plucky character’s resistance to foreign interference by persuading the family behind the cartoon icon to sign a sponsorship deal.

The agreement surrounds upcoming film Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (released January 30), which promises to take French box offices by storm – the last big-screen outing for the character in 1999 outsold Star Wars: Episode 1 and Disney’s Tarzan.

Asterix has come to stand for fierce French opposition to alien culture. Indeed, the cartoon hero has been compared to modern-day defenders of all things Gallic such as Jose Bove, whose campaign has, ironically, chiefly targeted McDonald’s.

Backed by an ad campaign from TBWA in Paris, the US fast food giant is planning seven new sandwiches linked to the film plus themed Happy Meals – a far cry from Asterix’s favourite snack of wild boar washed down with magic potion.

Moreover, McDonald’s is not the only barbarian at the gates – ISP Club-Internet, part of German giant T-Online, is hosting the movie’s official website. Restoring some national pride, however, is Fromageries Bel, the French cheesemaking multinational, which will offer Asterix-themed magnets and keychains with its products.

News source: AdAge Global