Devonta Smith moves into 11th season of Nissan’s ‘Heisman House’

Heisman House
(Devonta Smith moves in)

Nissan’s beloved Heisman House is back for its 11th season with a campaign inspired by fans from Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan. College football’s latest Heisman Trophy winner, Devonta Smith, joins past Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow, Eddie George, Kyler Murray, Desmond Howard, Barry Sanders, Baker Mayfield, Bo Jackson, Archie Griffin and Derek Henry for new – and always comical – hijinks inside the legendary Heisman House.

Highlighting Nissan’s refreshed lineup including the all-new 2022 Pathfinder, all-new 2022 Frontier and 2021 Rogue, the ads begin airing on September 2.

Allyson Witherspoon, vice president and U.S. chief marketing officer, Nissan: “We’re connecting with sports fans whose appreciation for the Heisman House serves as the inspiration for the latest ads.”

From Tweet to Street

With its agency partner, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, Nissan scoured a decade’s worth of Twitter posts referencing “Heisman House” and selected the most creative and humorous among them to serve as a basis for its latest campaign. The result: 10 storylines that would go on to become spots in the campaign.

The launch spot for the campaign is titled How We Heisman. In it, longtimers show Heisman House rookie Devonta Smith the ropes. Archie Griffin shows him proper Heisman trophy-shining technique. Desmond Howard demonstrates the Heisman pose, and Baker Mayfield tricks Smith into ordering 40 all-new 2022 Nissan Pathfinders using the Nissan@Home service. Watch below:

The inspiration for the spot, in part, came from a tweet by Eric Dietze of Brookfield, Wisconsin, that reads, “As part of his initiation, @DeVontaSmith_6 (’20) has to clean all of the Heisman trophies. By ancient laws of the Heismans, he needs to finish before sunset, or else.”

The all-new 2022 Nissan Frontier, with an all-new powerful, rugged and distinct design, is front and center in another spot titled “Good Hands.” Desmond Howard ponders how Devonta Smith is able to make such an amazing catch when he tosses him a water bottle for a ride in his all-new Frontier. The spot was in response to a tweet from Kennedy Plieth of Warren, Michigan, who writes, “Desmond and Devonta MUST have a Heisman House commercial together.”

Another tweet that served as inspiration for a campaign spot came from Mitchell Allen of Houston, Texas. He writes, “Who would win a spike ball tournament in the #heismanhouse? My money is on @K1.” The resulting spot titled “Spike It” features Bo Jackson, Desmond Howard and Baker Mayfield enjoying a friendly game of Spike Ball. Barry Sanders joins them, but there’s one problem – he has never spiked a ball before.

Other spots include The Heisman House having cat issues with their mascots:

And we learn from. Bo Jackson, who attended Auburn, that he celebrates a little too much with TP.

And there are even bloopers!

Viewers can hear from a few of the fans behind the inspirational tweets during an interview with ESPN’s Christine Williamson that will air in early September on College Football Countdown. Snippets of those interviews will also air on ESPN’s College Football Live each week when a new spot launches.

Nissan adds six HBCUs to its college portfolio

Nissan is expanding its college portfolio with the addition of six HBCUs: Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University and A&M College, and Tennessee State University (TSU). As part of this partnership, Nissan will bring its Heisman House Tour to Hampton and TSU this fall. The tour brings with it interactive games and events and will include appearances by ESPN First Take host Molly Qerim and Clinton Yates of The Undefeated.

Additionally, the Heisman House Tour will make stops at Hampton University and Tennessee State University, as part of Nissan’s expanded college portfolio that includes six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “Heisman House is back with some of the most beloved players in what we feel is our best lineup of fan-engaging spots yet,” adds Witherspoon.

“This is the first time that the tour will be visiting Hampton University and TSU,” noted Witherspoon. “We’re looking forward to engaging with students there and bringing the Nissan Heisman House experience to new audiences.”

Through its partnership with ESPN, Nissan will sponsor an HBCU segment on First Take during which analysts will preview an HBCU football matchup and highlight the Heisman House Tour stops at Hampton and TSU. Nissan will also have a prominent presence on, the digital hub for ESPN’s multimedia content unit that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture.

The Heisman House spots will run on TV across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, CBS, CBS Sports Network and during Monday Night Football on ESPN. 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.



  • Vice President and US Chief Marketing Officer: Allyson Witherspoon
  • Director, Brand, Marketing Strategy & Content: Erich Marx
  • Senior Manager, Brand Lead: Ty Webb
  • Senior Planner, Marketing Communications: Jeff Simmons
  • Senior Planner Strategy,Social Media Marketing: Arielle Lattes

AGENCY: TBWA\Chiat\Day New York

  • Chief Creative Officer: Chris Beresford-Hill
  • Executive Creative Director: Dave Banta
  • Executive Creative Director: Alex Taylor
  • Associate Creative Director: Phil Fattore
  • Senior Art Director: Alyssa Fishman
  • Associate Art Director Creative: Lauren Byers
  • Associate Copywriter: Wesley Rhodes
  • Head of Production: John Doris
  • Head of Production Operations: Victoria Kreger
  • Executive Producer: Jessica Gardner
  • Producer: Regan Wallace
  • Social Producer: Amanda Kresge
  • Business Lead: Val Tyll
  • Business Director: Tony Burman
  • Senior Business Manager: Michelle Darnell
  • Business Manager: Raquel Devariel
  • Head of Strategy: Elliot Bastien
  • Senior Strategic Planner: Melissa Panasci
  • Social Business Lead: Katherine Udeze
  • Social Business Director: Kim Harris
  • Social Executive Strategy Director: Tom Hyde
  • Senior Social Strategist, Branding: Camille Lieurance
  • Senior Social Strategist, Branding: Victoria Tabio
  • Social Strategist: Claire Miller
  • Senior Integrated Business Affairs Manager: Felicia Simmons
  • Business Affairs Manager: Rachel O’Malley
  • Production Integration Director: Andy Galvin
  • Associate Director, Product Integration: Chris Ellis
  • Associate Director, Partnerships and Activations: Lauren Natale
  • Media Planner, Partnership and Activations: Emily Stalcup
  • Managing Director: Scott Kavanagh

Nissan Heisman House Credits

  • Chief Strategy Officer: James Sowden
  • Chief Executive Officer: Nancy Reyes


  • Director: Aaron Stoller
  • Director: Cam Harris
  • Executive Producer: Holly Vega
  • Head of Production: Sean Moody
  • Line Producer: Cindy Becker

EDIT: Mackcut Editorial

  • Editor: Nick Divers
  • Editor: Brendan Hogan
  • Jr Editor: Megan Heard
  • Asst Editor: Arden Phillips
  • Producer: Gina Pagano


  • Executive Producer: Camila De Biaggi
  • Producer: Elissa Norman

SOUNDS: Heard City

  • Senior Sound Engineer: Keith Reynaud
  • Executive Producer: Jackie James


Playing with the Boys – Kenny Loggins