Planet Earth’s Jason Levinthal On The Brand’s New Marketing Strategy

After a year-long hiatus, Planet Earth is ready to rock the retail shelves again with eco-conscious products targeted to the 25-and-up crowd.  Since K2's acquisition of Planet Earth in March 2008, the company has continued to embody the style created by its founder Chris Miller, but has revamped its marketing strategy to include a more soulful approach to the action-sports industry.

Instead of focusing on big jumps and pros, Planet Earth’s marketing is unveiling untold stories of the action-sports industry in the form of photos, stories, and video documentaries in its "Perspectives" campaign.  "There's so many deeper stories in these sports that never get a chance to be recognized," says Levinthal.  "We want to be the brand to bring some of these deeper, soulful, inspiring stories to the surface."

Planet Earth's "Perespectives", which includes a hard cover book, was well-received by dealers at this year's trade shows, according to Levinthal.  "They are really excited to have something in their pocket that is different and fresh," he expalins.  "As soon as they see [Perspectives] they love it and have some ideas of people they want us to document."

Although the year-long hiatus confused some, Levinthal said it was only a matter of minutes before dealers at SIA in Denver understood Planet Earth's vision to incorporate  environmentally friendly, sophisticated apparel into a market of tall T's and neon designs.  He says his experience at SIA provided confirmation that dealers want to see Planet Earth products on the market.  "They [the dealers] are raising their hands saying, 'Hey what can we do, and how can we get involved' [with Planet Earth]?"

Planet Earth's 2010-11 line was also well-received at SIA, says Levinthal.  "It wasn't just the here today, gone tomorrow type shops looking for a little bit of flavor [that wanted to carry our brand]," he says.  "Some legitimate, well-established, well-branded dealers in action sports, especially in the winter scene, were interested."

Instead of targeting the 12- to 20-year-old consumer, Planet Earth created a product for members of the action-sports community who "don't want to look like 16-year-olds, but still want to be connected" to action sports, according to Levinthal. With this mature target market comes a more sophisticated style. The brand's versatile, timeless styles cater towards young professionals who participate in action sports, but "have real jobs too."  Instead of focusing on fads, Planet Earth designs are investment pieces. "We want [to create] a product you will be wearing five years from now or at least look back in five years and not be embarrassed [about what you were wearing]."

Functional outerwear does not have to make you look like you are in high school or you just hiked Mt. Everest, he explains.  "Retailers appreciate the wearability and street-style aspects of Planet Earth's outerwear that can be worn on and off the slopes."

Although Planet Earth incorporates eco-friendly practices into each of its designs, Levinthal says the company does not want to bring a Patagonia-esque lifestyle to the action-sports industry, because the action-sports community already has its own image. "We're not hippies," he says. "We're just trying to bring a better sense of responsibility and offering opportunities to our consumers to buy product that is more environmentally responsible."