McCann Canada gets U.S. assignment with Saxx

The agency will help the premium Canadian underwear brand build its awareness south of the border.


McCann Canada has picked up a new assignment with premium underwear brand Saxx.

Saxx was founded in Vancouver in 2006, but McCann will work to build awareness of its brand and product advancements in the U.S. market, supporting it on the strategy and creative fronts.

McCann was awarded the assignment without an RFP. Michael Dalzell, who joined Saxx of VP of brand earlier this year, told strategy in an email that the brand spoke with several agencies, but opted not to go through a formal RFP process due to the tight scope of the project and the fact that the brand “needed to move quickly.” Saxx and McCann had not worked together previously, but Dalzell had previously worked with some members of the agency’s team during stints at previous brands (prior to joining Saxx, he had been VP of marketing at performance apparel brand Stormtech and marketing director at The North Face).

Saxx has worked with a variety of agencies to handle its creative in Canada in recent years, from 123w to creative studio Kiddo to its own in-house team. It had also worked with Idea Couture on brand strategy, and Dalzell says McCann’s project is building off that work. Much of Saxx’s previous marketing has focused on things like its “ballpark pouch” and breathable panels that the company believes set the product apart, though it has also attempted more purpose-driven marketing in the past.

Work on the account has already begun and is expected to appear in market in Q4. Dalzell said the approach of mixing its functional innovations with a more emotional connection is one McCann will support during the U.S. push.

“Our underwear is designed to support guys literally, but it also supports them figuratively,” he said. “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.”

In terms of advertising spend and billings, a spokesperson for McCann did not provide specific numbers but said Saxx “is not one of [its] larger clients,” describing that as a positive, since the agency loves “to make brands bigger.” No new hires are currently planned to service the account.

At the beginning of the year, McCann Canada restructured its leadership team, bringing in a new CEO and moving to a structure that allowed for more collaboration with talent from other regions. Other new assignments the agency has picked up since the restructuring include the University of Toronto and an expanded slate of projects with existing client Suncor.