Baffin slows down to stand out

The footwear brand's recent acquisition by Canada Goose helps it put more muscle behind a poetry-centric campaign.


Baffin is taking a more serene approach to its latest campaign, using poetry to underscore the rugged beauty of the Canadian landscape and highlight the multi-seasonality of its footwear.

According to Mark Hubner, VP of brand at Baffin Canada, the brand wanted to make sure that “Made for All Seasons” cut through the noise of what he calls “humble hype” videos popular with performance and outwear fashion brands that are intense and fast-paced. Instead, it is using Grant Balfour’s “Canada, My Home” to try to get viewers to slow their heart rates, take a deep breath and reflect on what the outdoors of Canada means to them. He says the approach is based on consumer insights that have stayed relatively consistent over 40 years in business, that Baffin’s Canadian heritage and history were among its most valued brand attributes.

Hubner says winter has traditionally been Baffin’s core season and what differentiated its product in previous years was a multi-layer boot system that was able to regulate and maintain internal temperature ranges for feet. Baffin became known for its boot warmth, he says, but as the company’s assortment of products, styles and design aesthetics grows, the company is trying to emphasize a broader storytelling approach over pure functionality.

“It can be challenging at times, as we don’t have one specific target, hence why we wanted to tell a full range story,” says Hubner.

When it comes to ad spend, Hubner says “Made for All Seasons” is higher than previous efforts, helped by its acquisition last year by Canada Goose. CEO Dani Reiss said at the time that expanding into footwear would be an important part of the jacket manufacturer’s long-term growth strategy, but for Baffin’s side of the equation, Hubner says the company has been able to learn from Canada Goose’s expertise when it comes to marketing decisions and growing brand awareness.

“We’re investing more than we ever have in marketing heading into the fall/winter season, in a position where we feel we’ve built a strong foundation for the brand and to do a better job of getting the story out there” he says. Going forward, he says the voice-over recitation of the poem has resonated so well with focus groups thus far that the company has begun sourcing other season-specific verse going forward from other Canadian poets.

Toronto agency Elemental, which landed the account in 2017, handled the creative.