Pedestrians were transfixed by the sight of a scruffy teddy bear tied to a lamp-post, as sometimes happens when a child has been killed in a traffic accident. But what really got their attention was the fact that the bear appeared to be covering his mouth and coughing.
In fact, this particular bear was designed to draw attention to another kind of killer – London’s rampant air pollution. Called Toxic Toby, the animatronic wonder reacts automatically when air pollution reaches unsafe levels. Not only that, but he also tweets his dismay to politicians. Versions of Toby appeared in many of London’s most polluted areas.
Devised by McCann London and powered by BreezoMeter – an air quality measurement startup – Toby was the heart of a PR campaign that drew attention to a neglected aspect of human rights in the UK: the right to clean air.