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Sounds like a plan: Hankook markets brand

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In a move designed to build brand recognition and accelerate the growth of its market share in the United States, Hankook Tire America Corp. has unveiled plans for a broad range of marketing activities

Hankook will implement the plan throughout 2011.

“We are experiencing terrific growth in the U.S. market, so it makes sense to increase our marketing activities to further fuel our expanding presence here,” says Soo Il Lee, president of Hankook Tire America Corp.  “Consumers have responded very positively to our value proposition -- a high quality product at an excellent price, with outstanding service and support. But just as importantly, they are responding to our brand.

"Our creative has been developed to appeal to everyone from the car enthusiast to the general consumer. This is the time for Hankook Tire to further break out on the American scene.”

Hankook's first-quarter sales in the U.S. were up 26% compared to the same period last year. Its 2010 sales were up 21% compared to 1Q 2009.

(According to the Modern Tire Dealer 2011 Facts Issue, the Hankook brand owns 4.5% of the replacement passenger tire market and 3.5% of the replacement light truck tire market in the U.S.)

The company's new, fully integrated marketing campaign will showcase the brand on everything from the television screen to a 3,000-square-foot billboard in the heart of Times Square in New York City.

1. TV and print advertising. For 2011, Hankook has expanded its TV advertising under its brand umbrella “Driving Emotion.”  The new commercial -- “Be One with It” -- is a fast-paced, high energy, 30-second spot that focuses on the driver’s feeling of ‘being one’ with the tire and the road.

Filmed in New Zealand by director Jeffrey Darling, the spot uses unique extreme sport situations to emphasize the theme. The commercial will start to air in May on national cable networks such as ESPN, Discovery, Spike, Speed, CNN, Food Network, History, TruTV and FX, as well as regionally in top markets.

Hankook is also a lead sponsor of the current season of “Car Warriors” on Speed Network.

Print advertising will include placements in both auto enthusiast and consumer lifestyle magazines, such as "Maxim," "Men’s Health," "Popular Mechanics," "Car And Driver" and "Forbes."

2. Baseball-related advertising. Hankook has nearly doubled its advertising presence in a much coveted brand placement area -- behind home plate -- in 22 Major League Baseball parks throughout the country. Hankook’s branding will be seen by millions of people during the 2011 season.

3. Motorsports. Hankook increasingly has become a staple on the American motorsports scene. The company garnered enhanced visibility and sales increases in 2010 as a result of its motorsports sponsorships and special racing programs, and has multiplied its involvement for 2011 by becoming an official sponsor of Formula Drift.

Hankook also will support teams competing in the Redline Time Attack series, Rally Cross and Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Enthusiasts, racers and "influentials in the industry will experience Hankook’s increased presence in nearly two dozen races around the country in popular driving events."

4. Consumer promotions. Tens of thousands of consumers participated in Hankook’s rebate and giveaway promotions last year, and the company continues to extend its baseball-themed marketing.

On April 1, Hankook kicked off its 2011 “Great Catch” mail-in rebate promotion and giveaway, rewarding customers with up to a $60 cash rebate for the purchase of a set of four qualifying tires, along with a chance to win a 2011 Ford Explorer Limited.

5. Times Square billboard. Hankook’s “Driving Emotion” tagline already has become a fixture in the advertising mecca of brands that make up the landscape in the heart of one of America’s most famous intersection -- Times Square. Hankook’s unique tire-shaped billboard will be seen for a full year by more than 1.5 million consumers who pass through Times Square every day.

Hankook Tire America markets and distributes a complete line of high performance and ultra-high performance passenger, light truck, SUV and medium truck and bus tires to more than 400 independent dealers and their 3000-plus retail sales locations in the U.S. For more information, visit hankooktireusa.com.

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