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AMV BBDO Brands Air Quality to Make the Invisible Visible

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National rollout of addresspollution.org exposes 25% of UK addresses exceed W.H.O. limits for air pollution. Data-driven initiative was designed by AMV BBDO in conjunction with scientists at Imperial College London

AMV BBDO Brands Air Quality to Make the Invisible Visible

Shocking new data on air pollution reveals that nearly eight million (25%) addresses in the United Kingdom have air pollution levels above World Health Organization limits. The data comes from addresspollution.org, which has today rolled its London pilot out nationally. Air quality reports are now freely available for every UK address,

The initiative, by AMV BBDO and creative industry alliance Central Office of Public Interest (COPI), is also attempting to drive legal action to force the disclosure of air pollution ratings within the property industry. This would mean estate agents, property websites, surveyors and conveyancers are obliged to disclose air pollution, in the same way they have to disclose other deadly substances, such as asbestos. An explosive 20-page Queen’s Counsel legal opinion, released with the campaign, reveals a ‘strong legal argument’ estate agents will be negligent for not doing so.

Originally launched in 2019 as a London pilot, addresspollution.org received nearly one million visits at launch. Off the back of that success, funding was secured to commission 1.5 billion new data points from university Imperial College London. 

addresspollution.org can now reveal the levels of three toxic pollutants anywhere in the UK in an easy to understand Air Quality Report (AQR). The health implications for living at the address are also given. People are then urged to sign a petition demanding that estate agents and property websites disclose air quality to buyers and renters.

The rating system, approved by experts at the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London, needed to be simple.  It combines information design, brand identity and graphic design to make an invisible killer visible.   

Scott Kelly, art director at AMV BBDO, says: “We’re dealing with concentrations of pollutants measured in micrograms per cubic metre. On top of that, there are three different pollutants and they’re all invisible. We had to communicate complicated information quickly and efficiently, while nodding to the toxicity.”

Designer director Mario Kerkstra adds, “Air pollution exists on a microscopic scale but its effect on lungs, the brain, heart and even the womb is profound. We needed a visceral way of expressing the different levels of air pollution in more than a coloured banded system. Spikes exist in nature as a warning sign, a sign of danger. They felt right for this.”

AMV BBDO worked with Grand Visual to create a hard-hitting out of home campaign launching the system, asking the question ‘What are you breathing?’ Using data-responsive animation, the spiky typography ‘breathes’ harder or easier according to the air pollution at that location. The campaign runs across 650 sites around the UK; donated by Alight Media, BlowUp!, City Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor, Foris Outdoor, Global Outdoor, JCDecaux, Open Media.

Ric Albert from Grand Visual says, “This shows the power of data to create eye-catching digital out of home that delivers an important message. The fact that our partners stepped in to help us deliver that message - at such scale - was truly humbling.”

A blitz on Instagram will also see a number of posts exposing the high levels of pollution in different sites in the UK. The strong, eye-catching social media pieces also feature different organs, such as breathing lungs covered with spikes.

Funds to get the addresspollution.org pilot live were originally raised through a successful Crowdfunder campaign, making this a truly people powered campaign.

Humphrey Milles, founder of the Central Office of Public Interest, says: “Air pollution affects everyone. It is a dangerous, invisible killer. With this national roll out, it would be shameful for the property industry to not start acting in an honest, transparent way. Lives depend on it. Everyone has a right to know what they’re breathing. And with the public finally able to see this invisible problem, the government will need to swiftly act to bring air pollution levels down.”

To get a free air quality report for your address and sign the petition, visit addresspollution.org.


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Client: Central Office of Public Interest

Campaign: addresspollution.org

Client name: Humphrey Milles (Founder)

Agency: AMV BBDO

Chief Creative Officer: Alex Grieve

ECDs: Nick Hulley, Nadja Lossgott

Creative Directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson

Art Director: Scott Kelly

Copywriter: Ben Polkinghorne

Design Director: Mario Kerksta

Account Management: Rachel Dymond, Raashi Agarwal

Strategy: Emma Stafford, Talitha Turbin

Geospatial Technologist / Data Analyst: Justin Saunders

Data Analyst: Seth Shenbanjo

Creative Production Partner: Ian Whittle

Motion & Digital Designer: Thomas Harris, Bashak Yenier

Production company: HYD

Data mapping: Global MapAid

Post-production company: The Mill

PR agency: One Green Bean

Media production: Grand Visual

Media planning: Talon Outdoor

Categories: Environment, Corporate, Social and PSAs

AMV BBDO, Wed, 17 Mar 2021 11:36:14 GMT