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Nissan Shifts to Virtual “Heisman House” Amid COVID and College Football Season

Nissan stays ready to adjust marketing strategy to everchanging realities with their new Heisman House advertisements.

For the first time, Nissan is bringing its popular "Heisman House" to college and professional football, one of several new twists as the campaign returns for its 10th season of star-studded shenanigans. Filmed under strict social-distancing guidelines, the Heisman House spots star eight Heisman Trophy winners including Tim Tebow, Kyler Murray, Charles Woodson and Lamar Jackson and feature the all-new 2021 Rogue alongside the Nissan Sentra, refreshed TITAN and Kicks.

"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," said Allyson Witherspoon, vice president, Marketing Communications and Media, Nissan North America. "Case in point: the 'It's a Heisman thing' campaign.

"While there's no doubt that 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."

The first two spots, "It's Heisman Time" and "Bird-watching," begin airing on September 12. And to ensure a wide reach for the Heisman House spots, Nissan is complementing its ad dollars with placements during professional football broadcasts beginning September 14.

"With less college football this year and six of the eight Heisman winners starring in the Nissan Heisman House spots currently playing professional football, it's a natural redirection," Witherspoon said.

The campaign brings former Heisman Trophy winners together under one roof where they rib each other incessantly and individually prep for the season they've all been waiting for to get underway. Other Heisman Trophy winners featured in the campaign are Marcus Mariota, Baker Mayfield, Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram. Making its TV debut is the all-new 2021 Nissan Rogue, which has all the technology, capability and functionality to make life easier for today's families.

With its agency partner, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Nissan was diligent about taking safety precautions and enforcing social distancing among cast and crew on the Heisman House set, making for a shoot unlike any other.

In scenes that made it difficult for the Heisman stars to socially distance, the crew filmed them individually on a green screen piecing the segments together in post-production. In the spot titled "Anticipation," Tebow is driving the Rogue, Nissan's best-selling model in the industry's largest segment, with Murray riding shotgun. The two filmed their portions of the spot separately, each addressing their lines to a tennis ball.

The spots will run on TV across ESPN, ABC, FOX and CBS. More content will be available on Nissan's and ESPN's digital channels including a 3D experience at the Virtual Heisman House as well as behind-the-scenes footage and bloopers from the shoot. Looking forward, Nissan says college and professional sporting events will remain a cornerstone of its marketing strategy.

"College sports is the largest area of Nissan's annual media spend, and we're committed to sharing in the excitement with customers through content they love to watch," Witherspoon said. "Come what may, we'll adjust and innovate as we always do."

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