Toxic Toby Hits the Streets of London, and Starts Coughing

At first glance, this cuddly animatronic teddy bear seems out of place, displayed at busy London intersections and boroughs around the city. What is this furry friend doing here, and why is he…. coughing?!

The Award-Winning Toxic Toby Campaign

Meet Toxic Toby, the award-winning campaign by McCann London, supported by BreezoMeter’s real-time, location-based air quality data, designed to alert Londoners to the dangers and prevalence of air pollution in their city:

McCann London teamed up with BreezoMeter’s air quality data experts to raise awareness around London’s “silent killer” – its toxic air – by placing a roadside memorial in the capital’s pollution blackspots to highlight the startling 9,400 premature deaths associated with this public health issue.

Excerpts from the Original press release:

McCann London teamed up with BreezoMeter’s air quality data experts to raise awareness around London’s “silent killer” – its toxic air – by placing a roadside memorial in the capital’s pollution blackspots to highlight the startling 9,400 premature deaths associated with this public health issue.

But this isn’t your typical roadside memorial. It features Toxic Toby – a cute and cuddly animatronic soft toy that’s fighting for the human right to breathe clean air. Toby is connected to BreezoMeter’s real-time, location-based air quality data and triggers the bear to cough when air pollution reaches dangerously high levels.

The project’s goal was to use BreezoMeter’s advanced technology and Toby’s emotive power to raise public awareness around the startling health dangers of environmental contamination.

As BreezoMeter’s CEO and Co-founder Ran Korber explains;

“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 understand what is in the air”

By democratizing 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..

Laurence Thomson, Chief Creative Officer at McCann London, said:

“The pollution levels in our capital have reached a public health crisis. Children, commuters, all of us – are exposed to unclean air on a daily basis – risking our health and well-being. Latest TFL figures show that 116 people lost their lives to road traffic collisions, whilst a startling 9,400 died of illnesses related to poor air quality. These figures are nothing if not shocking – and we think a cute, cuddly, coughing teddy bear, set up as a roadside memorial will provide the rude awakening needed to give this public health issue the attention it deserves.”

James Crosby and Will Cottam, McCann London’s Creatives behind Toxic Toby said:

“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’s 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.

This campaign illustrates how creative companies can harness the power of real-time, location-based air quality data, to educate, reach, to make an impact, on behalf of a city deserving cleaner air.

Just like air pollution, advertising is dynamic, and reaching your audience in the right place at the right time is increasingly critical for success.

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Amalia Helen

Content Lead @BreezoMeter. Passionate about environmental issues and the power of IoT, big data and connected technologies to solve the big problems of our day. Drop me a line by email or connect on LinkedIn.