Ontario Lung Association creates a cannabis superhero

"The Toker" has his heroic goals dashed by coughing fits in the non-profit's PSA about the dangers of smoking.
Lung Assocation - Toker2

The Ontario Lung Association hopes a satirical superhero known as “The Toker” will help educate young Canadian adults about the lung health risks of smoking cannabis.

A series of comic-book-inspired digital videos attempt to show how symptoms stemming from the Toker’s cannabis use hampers his efforts at “saving the day.” The first video debuted last week and shows the green-leotard wearing superhero responding to an attack from “hostile martian warlords,” but experiencing a coughing fit before he can do anything about it. The strategy and creative was led by Edelman, which worked with Smiley Guy Studios on animation.

In addition to running on the spots on digital channels, the non-profit Ontario Lung Association will also be hosting on-campus activations at universities across the country. Canadian influencers will be incorporated into future creative, with all executions encouraging Canadians to visit a website where they can watch videos about the hero’s “misguided adventures.”

The work was funded by Health Canada as part of its ongoing efforts to implement national and community-based projects to raise awareness about the health effects of cannabis. In particular, the Ontario Lung Association hopes to reach Canadians aged 18 to 25, many of whom remain unaware of the lung health risks associated with smoking cannabis.

The campaign follows a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of the Ontario Lung Association that showed smoking is the most common form of consumption (87%) for Canadian cannabis users between the ages of 18 and 25. Meanwhile, 64% of respondents said they wish they knew more about the impact of those activities on their lungs. The number of smoke-free options available to Canadians is set to expand later this year, with marketers in the cannabis industry preparing to take advantage of opportunities offered by cannabis-infused edibles, beverages and topical products.