New poll shows biggest worry for Canadians before their first kiss: Should I close my eyes? But kids with life-threatening food allergies have much bigger worries

Saturday, May 7, 2011 Lifestyle News
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Anaphylaxis Canada launches Food Allergy Awareness Month with new ad to highlight everyday challenges faced by teens


May 6 /PRNewswire/ - A new poll shows the biggest worry for Canadians before their first kiss is whether they should close their eyes (33%), but a more important concern for teens with food allergies is what their partner
recently ate. Even a trace amount of an allergen may cause someone with food allergies to have a potentially-life threatening anaphylactic reaction. The poll comes at the start of Food Allergy Awareness Month. Other pre-first kiss worries in the poll were "how does my breath smell" (15%), "should I french kiss" (14%), "do I look attractive" (9%) and "will my parents catch me" (7%).

Among the more than 1.3 million Canadians with serious food allergies, teenagers are unique in the challenges they face. Teens have to manage their food allergies in various social situations, contend with peer pressure, and may exhibit a tendency towards risky behaviour and the awkwardness that comes with navigating one's way into adulthood.

"Teens need to be aware of the risks and equipped with the knowledge and confidence to make safe choices," said Laurie Harada, Executive Director of Anaphylaxis Canada and the mother of a teen with multiple food allergies. "Ensuring that their peers understand the seriousness of food allergies is also extremely important."

That is the message of a new public service announcement developed by cutting-edge Toronto advertising firm Zulu Alpha Kilo. The firm's President and Creative Director Zak Mroueh was inspired to create the ad by his son who has a serious food allergy.

"We wanted to create something that all Canadians could relate to," said Mroueh. "By using the premise of 'first kiss', we are underscoring the seriousness of food allergies and the challenges teens face in staying safe - even when preparing for a rite of passage."

The ad is being publicly unveiled at Anaphylaxis Canada's annual food allergy conference this Saturday and can be viewed here today by clicking on the "Video" tab of this release. The commercial, shot by Tom Feiler, was produced by Untitled Films. There is also a series of Transit Shelter Ads (TSA's) and out-of-home advertising shot by Shereen Mroueh of Asylum Artists. All creative is being placed by Richard Ivey and Kareem Boulos of Media Experts.

As avoidance of allergens is the only sure means of preventing a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, communicating strategies that help teens self-protect is critical. Even a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction. For teens to remain safe, this means always reading ingredient labels, ensuring their friends and dates are aware of their food allergies and always carrying epinephrine.

"Communicating directly to teens about managing risks and encouraging them to take responsibility for their allergies can help reduce instances of allergic reactions and prepare them for adulthood," said Kyle Dine, Youth Program Coordinator at Anaphylaxis Canada.

The public service announcement is the latest initiative in Anaphylaxis Canada's Why Risk It? allergy awareness program targeted at pre-teens, teenagers and young adults. More information about the program can be found at:

About Anaphylaxis Canada Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping those at risk for anaphylaxis and those who care for them. We are committed to creating a safer world for people with food allergies through research, education and advocacy. More information can be found at

About Zulu Alpha Kilo Zulu Alpha Kilo is based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in July 2008, the agency has a staff of 42. Clients include Bell Canada, Coca-Cola Limited, Workopolis, The Bay, PUMA, and Carleton University. Everyone in the company belongs to one company-wide creative group, and free-spirited, collaborative ideation is one of the agency's core principles.

About the Poll From May 2nd to May 3rd, 2011, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,011 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. Individuals were sampled according to Census data to be representative of the Canadian national adult population. The full dataset has been statistically weighted according to the most current gender, age, region, education (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. The margin of error is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

SOURCE Anaphylaxis Canada


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