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Foreign Carmakers Use Golf Marketing

Posted October. 29, 2005 03:14,   


The promotional potential of the LPGA Tour CJ Nine Bridges Classic is relatively huge because many high-profile golfers from home and abroad, including Sweden`s “empress of golf,” Annika Sorenstam, and Korea’s Park Ji-eun and Ahn Shi-hyun are playing.

Bang Sil, a deputy manager of Volkswagen Korea, which earned the sponsorship rights for the tournament after a fierce competition, said, “Volkswagen opened a branch in Korea this year, so we concluded this would be a golden opportunity for promoting our brand.”

A Hole in One is Like Killing Two Birds with One Stone-

A collective “Wow!” and shouts of joy rose from the gallery when professional golfer Kim Jun-kil scored a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th hole at the 2005 KPGA Shinhan Donghae Open at Lakeside CC in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province on October 15. It also just happened to be the hole where Audi Korea was offering a new model A4 1.8T worth 43.9 million won to any golfer who could sink a hole-in-one.

Last month, U.S. golf magazine Golf Digest commissioned a mathematician to calculate the probability of a hole-in-one by golfers around the world since 1952, and the results showed that the probability of a hole-in-one for a normal amateur golfer is 1/12,000, and for a professional golfer is 1/3,000.

Even though the likelihood for a professional golfer is higher than amateur’s, it is far more difficult to make a hole-in-one at a hole on which a car is offered as a gift.

If a golfer lucked out and scored a hole-in-one, would the company which presented an expensive car for the feat suffer a loss?

The answer is no. Automobile companies are insured with ‘hole-in-one” insurance. Audi Korea also purchased a policy after paying 5 million won.

A hole-in-one during a golf tournament draws huge attention from the gallery, and the media will often cover the event, which is like killing two birds with one stone

Golf, the Essence of Targeted Marketing-

On October 20, GM Korea signed a sponsorship contract with PGA golfer Choi Kyeong-ju.

The contract stipulates that GM Korea will provide a luxury sedan Cadillac All-New STS (worth 75 million won) for Choi whenever the golfer comes to Korea.

Toyota Motor Korea will hold the 2005 Lexus Cup in Singapore in December, which will pit Team Asia (captain: Park Ji-eun) against the International Team (captain: Annika Sorenstam).

BMW is holding three professional tours, including the BMW International Open as well as the BMW Golf Cup International, the world’s largest amateur tournament.

According to an analysis of PGA tour sponsorships, carmakers rank second with 18 percent, trailing only financial companies with 21 percent. This is a good testimony to carmakers’ aggressive golf marketing.

Lee Yeon-kyeong, a deputy manager of Audi Korea, said, “Imported car dealers usually conduct target marketing for the upper class, which represents three to five percent of the total population. Golf marketing is very crucial because the golfing population is made up of the very people who buy imported cars.”

Sang-Soo Kim Hyo-Lim Son ssoo@donga.com aryssong@donga.com