Redefining patriotism

The Ad Council got John Cena to body slam people's pre-conceived notions of what America looks like for the Fourth of July.

The Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign from R/GA challenged preconceived notions about diversity in relationships with its famous x-ray screen. But for yesterday’s Fourth of July celebration (which took place during an election season where “making America great again” is being defined by some as making it more exclusive), it challenged notions about what the average American looks like.

John Cena is probably the closest thing to an all-American good guy the U.S. has right now, with his square jaw performing for troops and sick children most of the year. He feels right at home in a spot that, with its ever-present American flags and smiling children licking ice cream cones, might otherwise be nauseatingly patriotic, if it wasn’t for the message it’s trying to get across.

Cena begins the spot by defining patriotism as being more than some cliched symbol. He then drops some stats to challenge the idea that the average American looks like…well, like him, by saying that there are more LGBT people in the U.S. than people who live in the state of Virginia, or that more people are Muslim than serve in armed forces. During the ad, people who represent that diversity walk back and forth on the average American street Cena is walking down, proving his point that if someone really loves America, they love people regardless of their race, age, gender identity, religion, sexuality or disability.

This video gets even better when you think of who Cena’s typical fan is. For the most part, they are kids living in every part of the U.S., including areas where things like “diversity” and “acceptance” aren’t always popular ideas. That means a bunch of kids saw their biggest hero challenge some of the backwards beliefs held by the people around them yesterday, making it a little more likely that they’ll grow up to do the same.


Brand: Ad Council
Priscilla Natkins, EVP, Director of Client Services
Heidi Arthur, SVP, Campaign Management
Trace Danicich, VP, Campaign Director
Jenn Walters, Campaign Director
Madeline Miller, Assistant Campaign Manager
Ellyn Fisher, SVP, PR and Social Media
Agency: R/GA
Nick Law, Vice Chairman, Global Chief Creative Officer
Eric Jannon, Group Executive Creative Director
Chris Northam, Group Executive Creative Director
Thomas Darlow, Associate Creative Director
Rene Van Wonderen, Associate Creative Director
Lucia Orlandi, Associate Creative Director
Paul Wood, Associate Creative Director
Eduardo Quadra, Associate Creative Director
Shashank Raval, Associate Creative Director
Bethany Kennedy, Senior Visual Designer
Ria McIlwraith, Designer
Tessa Ndiaye, Experience Designer
Emily Uram, Junior Art Director
Lukas Pearson, Junior Copywriter
Cindy Pound, Executive Production Director, Campaign
Jeff Skutnik, Executive Campaign Producer
Lucas Dennison, Digital Producer
Dylan Viner, Group Director, Strategy
Dave Surgan, Strategy Director
Emily Kearns, Senior Social Strategist
Amy McEwan, Strategist
Micah Topping, Executive Technology Director
Josh Hansen, Lead Architect
Steve Tsai, Senior QA Engineer
Wade Wojcak, Senior Software Engineer
Daniel Diez, EVP Global Chief Marketing Officer, Executive Management
Suzanne McGee, Director, PR
Stephen Bernstein, Director, Business Affairs
Kat Friis, Executive Production Director, Content
Leanne Diamond, Post Producer
Ashlye Vaughan, Senior Content Producer
Joanne Rotella, Senior Manager, Business Affairs
Shima Green, Stills Photographer
Madeline Gioia, Coordinator, Business Affairs
William Morel, Art Producer
Danielle Sessler, Associate Producer
Shakirah Tabourn, Production Assistant
Production Company – MJZ
Director – Rocky Morton
Executive Producer – Emma Wilcockson
Line Producer – Larry Shure
Director of Photography – David Lanzeberg
Editorial – Rock Paper Scissors
Editor – Dan de Winter
Original Music – Human/ Phillip Glass
color- Nice Shoes, Chris Ryan
Flame: Nice Shoes –Jason Farber
Mix: Nylon studios, Dave Robertson