Nov 18, 2011 at 04:15 PM
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From Basketball To Billboards, Tire Co Takes Brand Awareness To The Next Level

The seventh largest tire company by market share in the U.S. is looking to make a leap in the standings thanks to some high profile sponsorship spending. Hankook Tire America Corp., which makes up about 4.5% of consumer tires sold in the U.S. according to Modern Tire Dealer, has added college basketball to the sports marketing mix, which already includes advertising at twenty two of thirty Major League Baseball ballparks and investments across a range of motorsports events. Hankook is the latest company in a crowded tire category to starting spending on college sports.

Signage for the Wayne, New Jersey-based company will be seen courtside during nine of college basketball's major early season tournaments. Hankook brand exposure will be present at the Ticket City Classic-Austin, CBE Classic, Charleston Classic, Puerto Rico Tip Off, Ticket City Classic-NY/NJ, Maui Invitational, Jimmy V Classic, NIT-Season Tip Off and 2011 Showcase.

"Hankook Tire is excited to be working with men's college basketball as an advertising partner in one of the most thrilling sports series available to American sports fans," said Soo Il Lee, president of Hankook Tire America Corp. "This sponsorship broadens our involvement in sports marketing and puts us in a prime position to gain brand awareness at a time when interest in college basketball is likely to continue to grow during the next few months. Our behind home plate advertising in professional baseball provided Hankook with exceptional brand building opportunities and we are confident that our involvement with men's college basketball will provide us with similar positive benefits."

Hankook Tire's men's college basketball program is the company's latest effort to increase brand awareness in the United States. Earlier this year, Hankook Tire America placed a 31-by-98-foot billboard in New York City's Times Square that replicates the tread of Hankook Tire's ultra-high performance Ventus V12 evo tire alongside the facade of the Marriott Marquis hotel.

The objective of these efforts is to raise consumer awareness, increase market presence and build brand recognition around Hankook products, which are distributed at more than 400 independent dealers through 3000+ retail sales locations in the United States.

Calvin Pak, GM of Marketing at Hankook, says the company's aggressive sports marketing strategy has paid off this year.

"I think we’ve received a lot of compliments from customers and dealers," Pak recently told Modern Tire Dealer. "One of the things we’re doing differently from previous years is leveraging and creating synergy.”