A lot of attention has been drawn to the terrible air quality in Beijing and Delhi, but London? Same problem, not much notice – yet. While approximately 210 people die on London’s roads every year, London’s toxic air is quietly causing an estimated 9,400 premature deaths.
McCann London has teamed up with air quality data experts at air quality monitor, BreezoMeter, to put a spotlight on what it calls London’s “silent killer”, in order to motivate local MPs to support the Clean Air Bill.
That “spotlight” is a toy bear. The animatronic soft toy, Toxic Toby, is connected to BreezoMeter’s real-time, location-based air quality data. He coughs whenever air pollution reaches dangerously high levels. Tobys have been attached to street lamp posts with roadside memorials in London’s pollution hotspots, where the levels of toxic air regularly exceed the recommended legal EU limits, and each time they cough, an automatic tweet is sent to local MPs warning them that pollution levels have reached dangerous limits, urging them to act.
James Crosby and Will Cottam, McCann London’s creatives behind Toxic Toby, explained, “The problem with pollution is that you can’t see it, so it’s easy to disregard as we go about our business. But Toxic Toby puts pollution and its harmful effects right in front of people eyes with something they can’t ignore. The combination of an animatronic soft toy twinned with an alarming cough certainly turns heads. And teaming up with BreezoMeter’s live, location-based pollution data allowed us to be reactive and target the worst offending areas to spread an important message.”
Ran Korber, chief executive officer and co-founder of BreezoMeter, stated, “We believe that there are two ways to address the issues associated with air pollution, that are becoming more and more common in today’s news stories. The first is to reduce the amount of emissions, the actual pollution. This takes time and dedication, as well as great motivation from lawmakers and businesses – a real team effort. The second is an act we must do in parallel, and that is to understand that each of us can make better choices for our health if we are aware of what is in the air. Air pollution can be extremely dynamic, changing throughout the day, and from street to street. By democratising air quality data and raising awareness, through projects like Toxic Toby, we can choose a different time or place to exercise, to take our kids out to play, a different route to get to work or school. It’s a series of small decisions that can make a difference over time, especially with the knowledge that our governments are taking appropriate action as well. Everyone, the world over has the right to breathe in healthy air.”
Creative Agency: McCann London
Producer: Duncan Groves
Chief Creative Officer: Laurence Thomson & Rob Doubal
Creatives: James Crosby & Will Cottam
Designers: Dan Howarth, Nazima Motegheria & Harold Perrin
Communications Director: Katya Escala
Junior Strategist: Tara Henderson
Account Director: Christos Cardovillis
Comms Planner: Nick Kavanagh
Project Manager: Paul Gillespie
Designer & Typographer: Dalton Maag
Production Company: Craft
Director: Ben Twiston-Davies
Editor: Adam Beasley
Music Company: Native Music
Composers: Dan Neale & Fred Ashworth
Sound Design: Jungle And Craft
Grade: Coffee + TV