Cannes Lions

This Is How We Heisman

TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, New York / NISSAN / 2022

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2021 marked the 11th year of the Nissan Heisman House campaign. Since its inception over a decade ago, the campaign has been beloved by millions of football fans, but after so many years, it was in need of a refresh. So we needed to figure out how to reignite the fan engagement without completely turning our backs on what fans loved about the long-running campaign. All of this had to be accomplished in a way that would significantly increase brand affinity, awareness, recommendation, and also increase fan participation in the Heisman Trophy online voting, which Nissan sponsors and has ownership over.


Instead of shying away from the past 10 years of Heisman House campaigns, we decided to use its longevity to our advantage. Since the campaign has been so popular for so long, it has developed its own legion of fans. It turns out, many of those fans have been tweeting about the Heisman House over the years, sharing their unsolicited ideas about what they’d like to see happen in the campaign. We scoured thousands of these tweets and surprised fans by using their ideas to inspire our entire campaign. Their ideas became the inspiration for our TV films and digital video, and the writer’s of the tweets became the faces of our campaign. We reignited fan excitement around the Nissan Heisman House, by making it a place not only built for the fans, but by them too.


This campaign was specifically designed to target college football fans. Upon researching the target extensively, we learned that a major part of the sport’s appeal is how personal the fan experience is for those watching–whether you cheer for a university because it’s your alma mater or you were born into a family of diehard fans, the ties and emotions run deep. And fans are always looking for deeper and closer connections to their favorite players–many of whom were in our campaign. To provide our target with this connection, we allowed fans to influence everything from our TV films to our pre-roll content, and even turned 10 fans into brand influencers, engaging with other fans and even celebrity talent on social and network TV. We reached them with media across ABC, CBS, FOX, and ESPN–home to over 90% of college football games–and on major live sports streaming platforms and social media.


The fully-integrated 360 campaign launched in August 2021, with the first of our 10 campaign films premiering during the first college football game of the season. The fan whose idea inspired the film was interviewed LIVE on ESPN that same week. The remaining fan-inspired campaign films were rolled out throughout the college football season during primetime college football and NFL games on ABC, ESPN, FOX, CBS, Hulu, and YouTubeTV streaming. Each fan whose idea inspired a film was also interviewed LIVE on ESPN the same week their film premiered. Digitally and socially, the campaign used Twitter polls to allow fans to vote and choose customized video content they wanted to see in our pre-roll videos, social activations lived across Instagram, Snapchat, and ESPN’s and Nissan’s TikTok handles, as well as through Nissan’s exclusive Heisman Trophy Fan Vote on Twitter. The campaign ran until January 2022.


The Heisman House campaign was an overall success for Nissan, hitting or exceeding all brand goals prior to the campaign launching. The campaign received 108,390,967 total views, made 439,000,000 TV impressions, and 1,081,118 total engagements–all increases from the year prior. As a result of the campaign, Nissan saw a 9.4% boost in brand awareness, 9.8% boost in brand recommendation, and a 10.1% boost in brand consideration. Additionally, the campaign led to the most online Heisman Trophy fan votes ever for Nissan, with 2,152,644 fans voting–a million more than the year before.

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