Nissan's 'Heisman House' Pivots as Campaign Returns for 10th Season

This year's playbook includes NFL games

Pandemic be damned, it's Heisman time!

Nissan's "Heisman House" campaign returns for a 10th season, with winners of college football's ultimate accolade—including Tim Tebow, Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Kyler Murray—once again engaging in antics while chilling at a mansion (and showing off the automaker's latest models).

Their self-consciously goofy, bro-centric humor harkens back to simpler, pre-Covid days, though the commercials were created under strict safety guidelines by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and Biscuit Filmworks director Aaron Stoller.

For example, when unable to maintain safe physical distancing, the guys shot their scenes against a green scene, with the segments blended in post-production. Such details don't detract from the deliciously low-brow funnies, however.

The flight kicks off with "It's Heisman Time," as Jackson arrives at the House to discover Tebow really let the place (and himself) go during quarantine:

It’s Heisman Time | Nissan Heisman House

Nice topiary, dudes!

Next, Tebow and Ingram engage in some birdwatching, but there's a twist:

Bird Watching with Mark Ingram and Tim Tebow | Nissan Heisman House

Instead of actual birds, they spot the mascots of the Louisville Cardinals and Oregon Ducks. (Nice beaks!)

Below are two more spots. There are no bird costumes, though mindreading and bullhorns come into play:

Anticipation | Nissan Heisman House
Under Pressure | Nissan Heisman House

At various points in the campaign, Nissan's 2021 Rogue and Sentra appear, along with the Titan and Kicks.

Here's some behind-the-scenes footage, in which we learn that Tebow and Murray, though they appear to be in a car together, were filmed separately, addressing their lines to tennis balls:

Heismans Find a Way | Nissan Heisman House

Maybe Tim should take up tennis. Baseball hasn't exactly panned out for him, after all.

The initiative also includes a virtual 3-D Heisman House and sweepstakes.

With fewer college football games this year owing to Covid concerns, and six of the eight campaign stars currently playing pro ball, Nissan's "Heisman House" media buy for the first time includes NFL telecasts, including next Monday's Steelers-Giants and Titans-Broncos contests on ESPN.


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"Over the past six months, Nissan has pivoted multiple times to adjust to new realities, and that agility has enabled us to come up with new and entertaining ways to reach our audiences," says Allyson Witherspoon, vp of marketing communications and media at Nissan North America.

She believes the latest iteration of "Heisman House" displays that spirit, delivering the goods without sacrificing the silliness that's made the campaign a seasonal staple.
 
"While there's no doubt the 2020 college football season will look different, the humor, camaraderie and excitement of the Nissan Heisman House remain relevant, perhaps even more so during this time when audiences are craving some semblance of normalcy," Witherspoon says.

Also among this year's housemates: Derrick Henry, Marcus Mariota, Charles Woodson and Baker Mayfield (though the Heisman House represents somewhat smaller digs than the latter's grown accustomed to.)

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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