John Cena (And His Pecs) Star in Havas Chicago’s New Spots for Hefty

By Erik Oster 

Havas Chicago launched a new campaign for Hefty with a series of spots starring John Cena, two of which, in a misguided casting decision, also feature former SNL cast member/anti-vac nutcase Rob Schneider.

The spots also revive the “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!” chant the brand used in its advertising back in the 80s, as well as the Hefty vs. Wimpy dynamic. In “Hefty/Wimpy,” Cena is excited to find Hefty Ultra Strong with Odor Control at such a low price. When he picks up a box, he hears the “Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!” chant. When Schneider chooses a competitor named Wimpy, he hears something quite different.

Another spot, “Pec Flex” finds Cena’s flexing pecs accompanying the chant. “My pecs do that when people save money on Hefty,” he explains to the cashier who just rang up the product,” which sends the woman behind him scurrying back for an armful of Hefty boxes. A third spot pictures a man transforming into Cena after picking up a box of Hefty, while another woman opines about her husband turning into Schneider instead, upon picking up a box of Wimpy.

While Cena, who recently appeared in R/GA’s “We Are America” PSA, puts in a fine performance, the attempts at humor fall flat. That’s mostly thanks to a mix of premises which are too obvious and unconvincingly go for cheap laughs. It’s too bad, as Cena has proven he can put in a good comedic performance with his role in Trainwreck. The approach could have potential going forward, though, if Havas can improve its comedic chops (and maybe get rid of Schneider).


“Hefty is an iconic American brand and Cena is very all-American. He’s got this great strength so that’s the perfect fit because Hefty has always been known for its superior strength,” Havas Chicago creative director Ecole Weinstein told Adweek

Chief Creative Officer, N.A: Jason Peterson
Group Creative Director: École Weinstein
Copywriter(s) Matt Bush, Alexis Carr
Art director(s): Nat Loehr
Co-Head of Production, N.A: Dave Evans
Executive Producer: Brigette Whisnant
Sr. Business Affairs Manager: Bonnie Hamilton
Managing Director: Lisa Evia
Account Supervisor: Kristy Hughes
Assistant Account Executive: Matt McManus
Project Manager: Katelin Randall
Strategy: Michelle Gerstin, Martin Vogts
Media VP Account Director: Shawn Mulroney, Bethany Whipple
Media Supervisor: Amanda Smidt
Media Planner: Kamila Kowalczuk, Denise Alvarez

Production Company: Smuggler – Los Angeles
Director: Renny Maslow
Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero
Line Producer: Rhonda Vernet
Director of Photography: Bob Yeoman

Editorial Company: Whitehouse Post, Studio 6- Chicago
Sr. Editor: Dan Zabinski – Whitehouse Post Chicago
Asst. Editor Kelsey Moher – Studio 6 Chicago, Ben Cline & Luke Sloma – Whitehouse Post Chicago
Sr. Audio Engineer: Todd Beee – Studio 6 Chicago
Executive Producer: Lauren Shawe – Studio 6 Chicago
Post Producer: Kara Weinert – Studio 6 Chicago, Natalie Ksiazek – The Mill, Lauren Connolly – Whitehouse Post Chicago
Colorist, company: Luke Morrison – The Mill
Conform Artist, Company: Randy McEntee – The Mil
Graphic Artist, Company: Colin Hess – The Mill
Music Composer, Company: Marmoset