In Nissan’s Heisman House, Bo knows chess and Baker Mayfield plants a (tiny) flag

While not all viewers will catch the reference, it is an example of how Nissan tries to weave in “easter eggs” for hard-core college football enthusiasts, Marx says. “The non-fan would just think that it is just playful hijinks,” he says. But the “real punchline is for the super fan who knows exactly what we are referring to.”

The campaign, created by ESPN’s in-house CreativeWorks unit, debuts tonight during the Northwestern-Purdue game on ESPN.

Nissan is in its 12th year sponsoring the Heisman Trophy Trust, which oversees the trophy as well as charitable programs. College sports is a big part of Nissan’s marketing playbook. This year’s Heisman House campaign will emphasize the automaker’s Titan pickup, as well as its so-called “Intelligent Mobility” technology systems it puts in vehicles. But “while Titan is in the vast majority of our work this year, we try to make it a little more subtle and indirect,” Marx says. “We just don’t want to get in the way and make this into a sales campaign,” he said. Rather, the goal is to associate the Nissan brand with the Heisman, he adds.

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