Zulu Alpha Kilo's Hot & Toxic

The parody reality TV show for the Gas Leaks Project

March 6, 2024

Zulu Alpha Kilo's Hot & Toxic

Dan Cummings and Vic Bath, the Zulu Alpha Kilo team behind the 2021 and 2022 Applied Arts Advertising Award winning campaign Tough Turban, worked on this new campaign along with their New York office. The Hot and Toxic campaign is a million dollar ad buy that uses parody and humour to spotlight 21 air toxins found in methane gas, a climate change super pollutant, and push for warning labels.

Today the Gas Leaks Project, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing the truth about the dangers of methane and the fossil fuel industry's disinformation campaign, launched 'Hot and Toxic,' a national campaign capitalizing on the toxic tropes of reality television to inform and empower consumers of the health and environmental risks associated with so-called ‘natural gas.’ 


The public service campaign launched this month with a 2-minute film,  joining a growing number of creatives turning to comedy to spotlight the climate crisis and its attendant health issues. At more than $1 million, the campaign is considered to be the largest effort ever seen to directly take on the fossil fuel industry’s misleading marketing of ‘natural’ gas, using toxic reality TV personas to highlight the cancer-causing chemicals in methane gas.  


One of the challenges faced today when creating public service campaigns is how to deliver important information, without creating a sense of doom that leads to inaction. This is why the campaign uses parody to deliver its message, personifying the 21 hazardous air toxins found in methane gas during a two-minute "trailer” for the “new” reality TV series.


In one clip, one unsuspecting homeowner must live with these hot and toxic housemates after finding her dream home has a “natural” gas hookup. Every component of the creative campaign, from the trailer to billboards to short-form social content and digital ads appear as a promotion for a new reality TV show.

While recent studies have created a sense of urgency around the elevated health risks associated with methane gas in the home, it’s not always easy or accessible for people to understand,” said James Hadgis, executive director of the Gas Leaks Project. “Our Hot & Toxic’ parody campaign uses comedy to deliver a really urgent message — that methane gas is hot for the planet and toxic for your health.”

The campaign comes amid growing attention on the climate, health, safety and economic harms of our dependence on “natural” gas, including the Biden Administration’s recent decision to temporarily pause permitting for new gas export facilities. Gas primarily consists of methane, a greenhouse gas that warms the planet 80 times faster than carbon dioxide. Studies show that methane pollution from fracking, pipelines, storage and export facilities make the full climate impact of gas as bad as coal power. And decades worth of studies have documented that gas stoves produce air toxins linked to asthma and cancer. And industry groups like the American Gas Association have borrowed tobacco industry tactics to mislead the public about the threat. 


The public service campaign, which will spend more than $1 million on digital advertisements across social media platforms and streaming TV services, is the single-largest attempt to inform and empower consumers about the public health and environmental harms of methane gas. The Gas Leaks Project will target millennial consumers in a dozen states with a high percentage of homes with gas appliances. The campaign will also be brought to life through out-of-home advertising, social media influencers, and themed events this spring in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. 


The campaign finds itself in good company, as creatives turn toward standup, 'cringe' comedy, and humour to help scientists deliver sobering messages. “Hot & Toxic” was created by Zulu Alpha Kilo and directed by Edmond Hawkins, a comedy director, writer, and producer known for his work on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. ‘Methane Monster,’ another public service announcement created by James Hadgis and the Gas Leaks Project and released last year, is a Reed Award finalist. 

 “I thought the way our team brought this important issue to the forefront in such a creative way was refreshing,” said Zak Mroueh, founder Creative Chairman, Zulu Alpha Kilo. “Every extension plays on the tropes of reality TV, but it educates people on the dangers of ‘natural’ gas in such an unexpected way.

The gas industry has been lying to us for decades,” Hadgis added. “Humour brings us together because it’s funny and because it’s true. And allows us to get to the heart of this absurd story — “natural" gas is anything but natural."

Z.A.K.’s internal studio Zulubot managed the editing and all post production work on the campaign.


Petition calls for warning labels on gas stoves

In conjunction with “Hot & Toxic,” the Gas Leaks Project is launching a petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking that they require manufacturers and distributors of gas stoves to include warning labels informing consumers about the dangerous health impacts. Health leaders in states like Illinois and California have pushed the need for better consumer information on stoves and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently solicited information on their harms. 



The Gas Leaks Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization exposing the harms of “natural” gas and combating the fossil fuel industry’s disinformation through education, public service campaigns, and storytelling. Gas Leaks is a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. For more information on the dangers of natural gas, visit HotandToxic.com or GasLeaks.org



Client: Gas Leaks
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative Chairman: Zak Mroueh
Chief Creative Officer: Tim Gordon
Creative Directors: Dan Cummings, Vic Bath
Copywriter: Tilden Lincoln
Art Director: Lizzie Cox
Executive Producer: Katie Harris
Account Team: Meghan Mullen, Caroline Engram, Ela Profka
Head Of Strategy: Emily Garvey
Strategy Director: Spencer MacEachern
Communications Planning Director: Annie Yuan
Clients: James Hadgis, Rachael Smith, Maria Luisa Cesar, Topher Lorette, Caleb Heeringa    
Production Company: Method + Madness
Executive Producers: Jonathan Becker, Casey Lock
Director: Edmond Hawkins
Director Of Photography: Dominic Easter
Photographer: Mary Beth Koeth
Line Producer: Alex Leach
Production Coordinator: Dave Forrest
Casting Director: Arenas Casting     
Editorial Company: Zulubot
Editor: Max Lawlor
Assistant Editor: Adrian Gluvakovich
Senior Producer: Lena Hamady
Telecine & Online Artist: Felipe Chaparro
VFX Artist: Miguel Natividad                 
Audio Company: Barking Owl
Executive Producer: Ashley Benton
Producer: Jenna Pangilinan
Mixer: Mikayla Peterson
Media Agency: Zulumatic
Media Team: Alicia Petralia, Andrea Poisson, Anushka Prakash Babu

Congratulations Zulu Alpha Kilo on this campaign, humour is indeed effective in sharing important messages.