It would seem the health of our lungs is up in the air

(New installation for World Lung Day)

In honor of World Lung Day, the organization has unveiled a travelling art installation in the sky, Lungs in the Air, designed to heighten Canadians’ awareness of the effects of air pollution on our lungs. The four-story-tall inflatable lungs first soared high above East Village Park in Calgary on World Lung Day on Saturday, September 25th.

Today, Wednesday, September 29th, they’re high in the Toronto sky at Roundhouse Park, and the final stop will be at Halifax’s waterfront on Monday, October 4th

Created by McCann Canada, the thought-provoking installation gives Canadians a view 100 feet up in the air at the awe-inspiring lungs – a powerful artistic representation illustrating that what’s happening in the air is also happening in our lungs. At each stop, representatives from the Canadian Lung Association and, in Toronto, a respirologist, are on-site to discuss lung health and answer questions. 

On-site signage and social posts encourage people to tag photos with #LungsInTheAir and share it with @EnvironmentCa and @GovCanHealth to demonstrate their commitment to make cleaner air a priority.

To further people’s understanding of the impact of air quality, McCann partnered with the team at IPG sister agency Performance Art, tapping into their deep data and technology expertise to co-create

The website’s interactive experience is fueled by an API sourcing real-time air quality data. On the site, the particles inside the visualization change color and density to reflect the levels of each pollutant from cities across Canada. Visitors to the site are encouraged to send a message to Environment Canada to support prioritization of better air quality initiatives.

The team at McCann created the concept, collaborating with 3D/XR/VR artist Fezz Stenton on the design of the inflatable lungs, as well as creating all the content to support the launch and managing the onsite activations. Edery & Lord Communications developed a national media relations strategy to launch the travelling exhibit in each city and drive conversation about air pollution.


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“The effect of air pollution on our lungs is undeniable,” said Josh Stein, Chief Creative Officer at McCann. “But with so much information out there we knew our message could easily get lost. So, for World Lung Day, we challenged ourselves to do something truly disruptive. We are thrilled that the client got on board with putting the message 100 feet in the air.”

The installation brings attention to air pollution, this leading but often hidden cause of lung disease. Environmental factors such as global warming, ozone layer depletion, pollution and vehicle exhaust all contribute to poor air quality. Exposure can lead to respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, and there are links to lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Poor air quality can also worsen existing lung diseases like asthma or COPD. More than 15,000 Canadians die each year as a result of poor air quality. 

“Now more than ever, it is crucial to take action to improve air quality and reduce the impact on lung health today and for future generations,” said Terry Dean, president and CEO, Canadian Lung Association. “For more than 120 years, the Canadian Lung Association has been a resource for education and support of lung health and with this travelling installation it is our hope that Canadians will be moved to learn more and seek protective measures against the crisis we are facing.”


McCann Canada Credits:

  • Chief Creative Officer: Josh Stein
  • Associate Creative Directors: Gail Pak, Mike Shuman
  • Creative Team: Brennen Robinson and Osman Rahmani
  • Agency Producer: Eastern Yoo
  • Account Management: Karen Pearce, Sean Fero
  • Brand Strategy: Russ Rickey
  • Social Strategy: Russ Rickey, Julie Evans, Lisa Gacek
  • Project Management: Tavia Bakowski
  • Website Development: Michael Harley

Edery & Lord:

  • Partner: Martine Levy
  • Partner: Victoria Lord
  • Senior Account Director: Paige Calvert
  • Account Manager: Nadia Ali
  • Senior Consultant: Nancy Gray

Additional Production Credits:

  • Inflatable Lung Design: Fezz Stenton
  • Inflatable Lung Production: Glow Inflatables
  • Inflatable Lung Operation: Fabulous Inflatables
  • Helium Supplier: Air Liquide
  • Website Music: Grayson Music Group