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Lungs in the Air

Client: Canadian Lung Association

Business challenge:

People don’t think twice about Canadian skies. They assume blue skies are

healthy. Yet, according to health impact assessments, air pollution is one of Canada's most significant risk factors for premature death and disability. More than 15,000 Canadians die each year due to air-pollution-related causes, and 86 per cent of us live in areas where air quality is poorer than World Health Organization guidelines. The Canadian Lung Association (CLA) is one of 171,000 registered charities/non-profit organizations in Canada, however, even during the pandemic, when people were obsessed with the health of their lungs, the CLA was not among the top 100 charities. In addition, the agency had to combat research that showed an overwhelming connection between the CLA and anti-smoking, resulting in one-in-seven Canadians believing that self-inflicted diseases deserve less funding.


The agency, in partnership with McCann Canada, unveiled Lungs in the Air, a travelling,

aerial art installation visible from 50 miles away in honour of World Lung Day. The four-story-tall inflatable lungs soared high above cities across Canada as a reminder that what's happening in the air is also happening in our lungs. A dedicated media relations strategy and digital and social presence was developed to support the activation. Editorial, social posts and on-site QR codes drove audiences to — an interactive experience fuelled by API sourcing geo-targeted, real-time Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) data and educational content. The AQHI was brought to life as moving lung particles, based on pollution data. The experience encouraged social sharing, and donations to the CLA.


The program exceeded all goals, resulting in a total reach of more than 17 million, a

$0.0006 CPC and an MRP quality score of 83.65 per cent. A critical element of the success was breaking the stigma that saw the CLA solely linked to anti-smoking. Specifically, 94 percent of social sentiment toward Lungs in the Air was positive and critical donations were up an incredible 21 percent year-over-year. Lungs in the Air was recognized at several industry award shows, including being named 2023 Best Creative Campaign of the Year by the Canadian Public Relations Society.


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