McCann London has launched a playful yet deadly serious campaign to raise awareness around London’s “silent killer”—air pollution caused by the city’s relentless traffic.
The campaign stars “Toxic Toby“—a cute and cuddly animatronic soft toy that’s fighting for the human right to breathe clean air. Toxic Toby is placed in key, high-traffic spots around London and the sitea are decorated like a roadside memorial to a traffic victim. The “Clean Air Bear” is connected via real-time, location-based air quality data. Toxic Toby begins to cough when the pollution levels reach dangerously high levels. Each time Toxic Toby coughs, an automatic tweet is sent to local London politicians, warning them that pollution levels have reached precarious limits, and reminding them that they need to act.
While London passersby have reacted with keen interest and are amused by Toxic Toby, the data is quite serious: 9,400 London citizens die prematurely every single year from causes directly linked to air pollution. The project’s goal is to use technology and Toby’s emotive power to raise public awareness around the startling health dangers of environmental contamination. Local government needs to step up action against the toxic air that’s polluting London and face the stark reality that pollution causes nearly 40 times as many deaths per year as car accidents.