College Mascots Hit the Road for Nissan in Race to March Madness

Candace Parker, Kenny Smith ride along

Nissan sure gets high mileage from college sports mascots in its advertising. This capering costumed crew rock the nameplate's Heisman House campaign every fall. And now, ahead of the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, 16 of the furry freaks take a road trip in spots from TBWA/Chiat/Day breaking today.

Former players Candace Parker and Kenny Smith, plus current USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, go along for the ride. More madcap than last year's similar brand-boosting odyssey, fresh ads celebrate goofy Americana and hoop culture with all the silliness you'd expect.

Best bits include riffs on some of the mascots' malevolent stares, the Stanford Tree using a sun-roof to spark photosynthesis, and Kenny's flashback to revisit his bad hair days with Ohio State's Brutus Buckeye.

There's just something about seeing the mascots out and about that's both ridiculously satifying. It's like our sports obsession escaped the arena and knows no bounds. N.C.'s Rameses always looks so pissed, like he wants to head-butt the world. Excellent!

Nissan's all-electric Ariya, plus the Z1 Rogue, Altima, Frontier and Pathfinder appear in the commercials. There's TikTok outreach too, inviting fans to share live tournament experiences during through "Now" notifications, prompting them to post videos about the games, with a Final Four sweepstakes tied to Instagram.

"March Madness is a beloved cultural moment with viewers spanning a wide range of demographics, from avid college sports followers to casual cultural bandwagon hoppers, bringing everyone together throughout the entire tournament," Allyson Witherspoon, VP and CMO, Nissan U.S., tells Muse. "Unexpected moments are the allure of March Madness. With TikTok Now we are using real-time unexpected moments to attract and unite March Madness audiences on social media."

She continues: "A dual strategy is needed for a cultural moment that starts on TV and ends in social. We understand that the real conversation around March Madness happens on social, so we built a social landscape that enables everyone to join in on the thrill."


Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Nissan U.S.: Allyson Witherspoon
Director, Marketing: Erich Marx
Senior Manager, Brand Marketing Communications: Ty Webb
Senior Planner, Brand Marketing and Communications: Anvita Upadhyaya
Director, Brand and Retail Demand and Data Innovation:  Phil O’Connor
Senior Manager Nissan T1 Media Strategy and Planning: Tony Weeks
Director, Customer Experience and Digital Platforms: Colleen Boldon
Senior Manager, Customer Experience and Digital Platform: Robert Brown
Director, Brand Marketing and Strategy:  Yetunde Faparusiy
Senior Manager, Marketing Strategy, Rachel Booten
TBWA/Chiat/Day NY
Nissan United Team / Nissan USA

Chief Creative Officer: Amy Ferguson
Head of Creative, Nissan: Dave Banta
Group Creative Director: Mike Blanch
Associate Creative Director: Monica Sagowitz
Associate Creative Director: Anthony Pasqualone
Art Director: Elissa DeBruyn
Copywriter: Joey Chiarulli
Associate Art Director: Hunter Swink
Associate Copywriter: Joshua Blanco
Operations Manager, Creative: Laura Czerepak
Business Team
Managing Director: Scott Kavanagh
Brand Business Lead: Val Tyll
Business Director: Tony Burman
Senior Business Manager: Raquel Devariel
Business Manager:  Anna Moscovici
Social Business Lead: Katherine Udeze
Social Business Director:  Kim Harris
Manager: Jack Cronin
MC Business Lead:  Darian Forh
Chief Executive Officer: Nancy Reyes

Chief Strategy Officer: Leslie Stone
Executive Strategy Director, Strategy and Innovation:  Elliot Bastien
Strategy Director: Matthew Kaye
Strategy Director, Social Branding: Victoria Tabio
Senior Strategist, Social Branding: Avery Sawyer
Head of Integrated Production: John Doris
Group Executive Producer: Sumer Friedrichs
Head of Production Operations: Victoria Krueger
Executive Producer: Sarah Farrand
Executive Producer:  Chris Klein
Integrated Producer:  Armando Melendez
Business Affairs Manager: Rachel O’Malley
Business Affairs Manager: Leti Schumacher
Product Strategy
Director, Product Integration: Andy Galvin
Senior Specialist, Product Integration:  Patrick Jones
Executive Director Media and Integrated Programs: Sara Wilson
Business Lead, National Planning, Partnerships and Activations:  Steve Walsh
Associate Media Director: Lauren Natale
Media Supervisor Influencers: Simon Fenzi
Media Planner, Partnerships & Activation: Emily Stalcup
Optimum Sports Account Director: Sam Levy
Optimum Sports Account  Director: Mike Polvere

VP Client Services:  Megan Hanson
Sr. Account Director: Emily Morrison
Account Director: David Schneider
Account Supervisor: Katie Smits
Account Executive: Casey Ausloos
Sr. Strategist Experiential: Alex Davidson
Associate Creative Director: Liz Ha
Creative Technologist: Joe Leitner
Sr. Art Director: Dia Yang       
Sr. Creative Project Manager: Lisa Rasmussen
Sr. Digital Project Manager: Stacy Mallak
Content Production Director: Emmie Cerow
NU Web
Business Lead: Laura Thomas
Senior Account Manager: Brittany Brown 
Strategy Director: Kerry Janes
Creative Director: Skylar Pelletier
Copy Director: Peter von Sass
Copywriter: Lucy Findley
Content Director: Tony Charron
Designer: Cole Ottmann
Lead UX Designer: Vagisha Singh
Tech Lead: Adrian Alberto Carmiol
Project Manager: Liz Smith
Search Strategist: Andrew Ly
Marketing Science Analyst: Lady Acheampong
Senior Group Director, Marketing Science:  Kothand Venkatakrishnan
Group Director, Marketing Science:  John VanderPloeg
Manager, Marketing and Business Intelligence: Jamie Westerman
Senior Analyst, Marketing and Business Intelligence: Sid Deshmukh
Analyst, Marketing and Business Intelligence: Christine Lin
Director: Dax Martinez-Vargas
Partner / Managing Director: Ryan Ennis
Producer: Annika Dawson
EDITORIAL - MacKenzie Cutler
Editor: Nick Divers
Assistant Editor: Molly Dolinger
Assistant Editor: Franklin Ponce
Sound Design: Corey Bauman
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
VFX - Framestore
Executive Producer: Heino Henning
Producer: Annabelle Cuthbert
Producer: Catherine May
SOUND HOUSE - Duotone Audio Group
Executive Producer: Greg Tiefenbrun
Audio Engineer: Andy Green
MUSIC - Music & Strategy
President: James Alvich
Executive Producer, Music Supervisor: Gabe McDonough
Senior Producer/Music Supervisor: Lisa McGuire
Executive Producer: Joey Reyes
Producer/Music Supervisor: Caitlin Russell

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