Underwear brand SAXX taps McCann Canada

Vancouver underwear brand SAXX has enlisted McCann Canada to further grow the brand in Canada, while also leading its first major push into the U.S. market.

Michael Dalzell, vice-president of brand with SAXX, said McCann will play a key role in continuing the brand’s efforts around developing “meaningful relationships” with its customers.

“Our brand has evolved organically into this incredible collective for men pushing the world forward, and we want to continue to challenge and support that community in their stepping outside their comfort zones to drive change,” said Dalzell in a release.

SAXX has used two distinct marketing approaches in recent years, with work that highlighted product innovation (most notably its trademark “BallPark Pouch”) juxtaposed with purpose-driven marketing like last year’s “No Status Quo” spot.

“Their ask for us was ‘How do we bring those two worlds together strategically and in communications planning?” said Dustin Rideout, chief strategy officer with McCann Canada in Toronto.

“They realize they have to create brand demand as well as sell product, because competition is heating up in that arena,” added Rideout, who previously worked with Dalzell when the former was marketing director with outerwear brand The North Face. “Your marketing has to do both of these things, not one or the other, especially when you’re a growth brand.”

Men’s underwear has traditionally been a low-involvement category that is crowded with brands. However, there are indications that brands like SAXX—which combine product innovation with a sense of style —could be poised for future growth.

According to a 2018 report from QY Research, the global men’s underwear market will be worth US$16.1 billion by 2025, driven by growing disposable income and preference for branded underwear offering better fit and comfort.

“What we do know is that men are willing to level up and pay a premium for quality products that will help them live their best life,” said Rideout. “It makes them a good recommendation engine for other men.”

McCann is currently in the creative development stage with SAXX, said Rideout, with the first work likely arriving later this year or early 2020. SAXX is a brand that addresses what Rideout described as a fundamental aspect of life for many men: Testicle discomfort. “It’s a universal male experience that we’re born with and systematically learn to deal with over time,” he said. “We don’t even think about it because we say ‘Yep, that’s going to be a thing.’

“SAXX has done a good job of playing to that in the past, but how do you take that shared universal experience and broaden it out.” That is the nut McCann is endeavouring to crack.



Chris Powell