PHILADELPHIA (April 8, 2004) — Hankook Tire America Corp. may be a Korean tire company, but its advertising is as American as apple pie—and baseball.
For the fourth year in a row, the Wayne, N.J.-based unit of South Korea's Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has boosted advertising expenditures for its sponsorship of Major League Baseball. In 2004, Hankook signage, featuring its new corporate logo, will be seen behind the home plates of 13 major league teams. The signage rotates with other advertisers throughout the game.
“We want to be the tire company of major league baseball,” said Richard Clarke, president of Clarke Advertising, Hankook's ad agency. “This will help us build brand awareness not only nationwide but worldwide.”
Hankook, he said, is spending 20 percent more on the program than in 2003.
The tire maker kicked off its 2004 baseball marketing effort April 4 by hosting a tire dealer and media event at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the new home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
During the gathering, the company also announced its sponsorship of a nine-event drifting program at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The sponsorship aims to increase customer awareness for the company's ultra-high performance tire, the Ventus Sport K104
Hankook executives will attend similar kickoff events in five additional ballparks in the next two weeks. They include stadiums for the Boston Red Sox (April 12), Texas Rangers (April 15), Florida Marlins (April 23), Detroit Tigers (April 27) and Los Angeles Dodgers (April 29).
Other teams involved in Hankook's Sports Marketing Program include the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
During 2003, Hankook said it received more than 4 billion media impressions through its sports marketing programs in baseball, hockey, basketball and football.
In addition to direct media exposure from the events themselves, the company received residual value on sports programs like ESPN and local broadcast media across the U.S., said Bill Bainbridge, Hankook marketing director.
“When you see your company name on SportsCenter in the evening and another four times the next morning, people take notice,” he said.
“Now we are taking the brand recognition to our dealer who will benefit the most from it.”