The natural gas giant Jemena has defended paying Instagram influencers, including former contestants of The Block, Married at First Sight and other reality TV shows, to promote the fossil fuel in social media posts.
The #GoNaturalGas campaign from the Chinese and Singaporean-owned Jemena, which manages key natural gas pipelines around and out of Australia, appears to have been running for two years online, and comes amid concern liquified natural gas could be as bad for the environment as coal.
Among the posts, first reported by the industry news site Renew Economy, influencers spruik natural gas as a good source of energy for staying warm, for kitchen use and for better health.
Shannon and Simon Vos, the brothers who won season nine of The Block in 2014, are among several former reality TV stars to have taken part, advertising the #GoNaturalCampaign campaign to their 40,000 Instagram followers.
In an Instagram post from August 2018, the brothers said: “If you’ve got a reno or a new build coming up, hook up to a sleek little gas hot water system and you’ll have all the steamy showers whenever you want and for how ever long it takes to turn those toes all wrinkly.”
“We’ve got some hot tips for your bathroom build, and the dudes at GoNaturalGas.com.au have crunched the numbers and it seems that most of us want instant and long lasting hot water in our ideal homes. So take it from Simon (he’s a profeshimonal ) you can’t go past Gas…. #gonaturalgas,” the post said.
A now-deleted post from Catherine Heraghty, director of Sydney-based interior design company The Stables, suggested clients designing bathrooms should choose natural gas to ensure hot showers.
“In the cooler months of the year there is nothing like the warmth of a hot steamy shower after a cold winter’s day,” the post on The Stables’ Instagram account reportedly said to its 170,000 followers, before it was taken down.
“When we built our house we decided to hook up to natural gas so that we could enjoy instant hot water that never runs out. I suggest to all of my clients that they consider hooking up to natural gas when building or renovating, there is nothing worse than running out of hot water at the end of the day and having a cold shower (the worst!!) or washing the dishes in cold water!” it said.
Most of the paid posts appear to have been deleted after the publication of the Renew Economy article, with anti-natural gas posts warning “gas is a fossil fuel” and “gas ain’t cute” subsequently flooding out the feed for the hashtag #GoNaturalGas.
Heraghty’s post declared that it was part of a paid partnership with the #GoNaturalGas campaign, but the Vos brothers’ post – which the Guardian has learnt was a paid post – did not.
Roxy Jacenko, who represents Shannon and Simon Vos, said there was no legal requirement for the brothers to declare any paid partnership.
“This job dates back to August 2018 – at that time there was no…
Read More: ‘Steamy showers’: Australian Instagram influencers post on behalf of natural gas |