By Barry Janoff
July 18, 2016: If you think are seeing a lot of John Cena on TV these days, you would be correct.
The man who can bring patriotism to America and hope to kids dealing severe health challenges is now bringing garbage bags to the pantries of homes nationwide.
Last month, he appeared as Hulk Hogan in an episode of NBC's comedy sketch series, Maya and Marty.
On July 4, a PSA from the Ad Council launched with Cena touting patriotism in America.
Over the past few months, he has hosted American Grit, a reality competition on Fox.
Last week, he made time to host the ESPYs. Also last week Cena signed a deal with Leftfield Entertainment, New York, which produced American Grit, to develop shows for TV and digital.
Tomorrow night (July 19), he will play a significant role when WWE SmackDown Live launches its Tuesday night schedule on USA Network.
As a follow up to his role as host on the ESPYs, he co-hosts the Teen Choice Awards (with Victoria Justice) on Fox, scheduled to air July 31.
And beginning today, he stars in a humorous campaign from Arm & Hammer's Hefty brand, supporting a new line, Hefty Ultra Strong with Arm & Hammer odor control.
The multi-media effort shows Cena embodying Hefty’s strength and taking shots at his wimpy counterpart, played by actor Rod Schneider. The "comprehensive advertising initiative marks a significant investment for the brand, and the new line represents Hefty’s first trash bag portfolio refresh in years," according to the brand.
"Hefty Ultra Strong represents a significant leap in the performance of our trash bags,” Lisa Smith, vp-marketing for Hefty, said in a statement. “We thought the best way to share this exciting product evolution was by utilizing John Cena and Rob Schneider to reintroduce ‘Hefty vs. Wimpy’ as well as the ‘Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!’ chant that everyone knows and loves in a modern way and with a humorous twist.”
In addition to series of TV spots, the campaign includes Internet and social media. Lead agency is Havas Worldwide Chicago.
According to Havas CCO Jason Peterson, "We didn’t want to show another mom in the kitchen needing a strong bag to help her clean up after her messy family. That’s just not how life is anymore.
"Our target is a varied group and these amusing, unconventional ads will speak to them in a way a trash bag company hasn’t before," said Peterson.
The lead spot, "Wimpy," shows Cena picking up a box of Hefty Ultra Strong with Arm & Hammer odor control, accompanied by the boisterous chorus of "Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!" When Schneider picks up a box of Wimpy trash bags, he hears the weak chant, "Wimpy! Wimpy! Wimpy!"
Schneider thinks Cena gets his support because he's "so strong," but an elderly woman in an motorized assisted shopping cart also hears the bold "Hefty!" chant when she picks up the product.
"Becoming John Cena" shows an average man turning into Cena after picking up a box of Hefty Ultra Strong, much to the delight of the man's wife. Another woman is less thrilled when her husband, buying Wimpy brand, turns into Schneider.
Cena gets to display his muscles at the checkout counter in "Pec Flex" when he pays for a box of Hefty Ultra Strong.
Cena, 39, earns upward of $6 million with WWE and an estimated $5-$6 million in endorsements, according to industry analysts.
He also has deals that include Cricket Wireless and Gold's Gym.
Closer to home, Cena is a spokesperson for TapouT, the official workout gear for WWE (which is a 50% owner of the brand with Authentic Brands Group), and is featured in the new Topps WWE Slam '16 digital trading card app.
“Whether I’m in the ring for WWE or on a TV or film set, I approach all of my work the same way: with focus, authenticity and total commitment,” Cena said in a statement when the Leftfield alliance was unveiled last week. Leftfield also oversees such shows as Pawn Stars and Counting Cars on the History Channel.
“I’m eager to bring that same work ethic to the team at Leftfield, and to create new kinds of programming that can inspire and push people to be their best. I’m living proof of what you can accomplish when that happens," said Cena.
When Cena speaks or makes an appearance, people listen and take notice.
On social media, his Facebook page has more than 42 million likes, and on Twitter he has more than 8.3M followers.
"John Cena Draw My Life," a humorous online series in which the unauthorized biographies of celebrities are depicted in animated, storyboard form, has attracted more than 4 million views on YouTube even though he is not officially associated with it.
In May, Cena worked with the Invictus Games, held in the ESPN Wide World of Sports & Walt Disney World in Orlando. Founded in 2014 under the auspices of Britain's Prince Harry, Invictus Games is an international multi-sport event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans compete in sports.
Earlier this month, Cena appeared in a PSA for the Ad Council's umbrealla Love Has No Labels effort, "We Are America. "Patriotism is love for a country, not just pride in it. What makes up this country? It's the people," he says in the PSA.
“This campaign sends an important message of acceptance that truly embodies the spirit of America," Cena said of appearing in the spot.
"Beyond his physical strength and presence, his humor, strength of character and genuine desire to give back always comes through."
That is only part of Cena's altuistic activities beyond the ring.
Last year, he participated in activities for the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, for which WWE was an official sponsor.
He has the most Make-A-Wish wishes in the organization's history. He granted his 500th in 2015, 400th in 2014 and 300th in 2012, the first to hit each milestone, according to the group.
The most recent came earlier this month when he hosted Tanzilur Rehman, a 17-year-old boy who is suffering from muscular dystrophy, at a wrestling event in Ohio.
According to David George, CEO for Leftfield Entertainment, “There’s nowhere you can go with John Cena without eliciting respect, pure joy and excitement from everyone he meets. Beyond his physical strength and presence, his humor, strength of character and genuine desire to give back always comes through.
"That’s an inspiring place from which to create entertainment content, so we’re extremely proud and happy to be in business with John," said George.
WWE, John Cena Power TapouT Brand Boost
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