In an age often marked by division, John Cena is taking a shot at American unity by redefining patriotism.
In this Fourth of July video, he says that patriotism isn't simply about pride in country. It's about loving other Americans.
"To love America is to love all Americans," says the WWE pro-wrestler, rapper, and increasingly well-known Hollywood actor.
As he strolls through small-town USA, he walks through the points supporting the case:
"Almost half the country belongs to minority groups," says Cena, about half-way through the ad. "People who are lesbian, African American, bi, transgender, and Native American, and proud of it. After all, what’s more American than freedom to celebrate the things that makes us us. This year, patriotism shouldn’t just be about pride of country. It should be about love. Love beyond age, disability, sexuality, race, religion, and any other labels. Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels, we’re not really being patriotic, are we?"
It's a message that's likely to resonate with a younger US generation that sees no greater sin than intolerance and wants politics to move beyond polarity to solutions. And it's a message that may irritate Americans who are united by concern that their country is faced with eroding principles, illegal immigration, and terrorist threats.
AdWeek praises the public service ad: "In a country gripped by the perpetual noise of a brutal presidential election, the message is clear, timely, thoughtful and skillfully delivered by R/GA [the ad agency] – connecting love of individuality (so memorably illustrated the original, megaviral "Love Has No Labels" video) with love of country, which is often used as an excuse to exclude rather than include."
The John Cena video is the latest in the "Love Has No Labels" campaign for the Ad Council. Expect it to show up across social media Monday and Tuesday. AdWeek reports that the ad "campaign partners include The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, State Farm, Google and Johnson & Johnson, which will promote #WeAreAmerica content across their brand channels."