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"DRIVE with Culture and Art! (Interview ver.)"

Culture brands need to prepare at least two things when approaching consumers: the image they wish to convey and the cultural and artistic value they offer. Hankook Tire's newly launched motor culture brand 'DRIVE' has announced two art exhibitions to realize youthful and emotional communication.

In March, the Korean art scene witnessed a gathering of prominent names in one exhibition— the 'Hyper Collection.' It features 25 contemporary artists, including masters such as Nam-june Paik, as well as top artists. This exhibition intertwines the artistic journey of representatives spanning the past, present, and future of Korean contemporary art with the rich history of Hankook Tire, founded in 1941.

Another noteworthy project sponsored by Hankook Tire is the solo exhibition of webtoon writer and broadcaster KIAN84, titled 'KIANDO奇案島 (Strange Island).' The exhibition garnered significant attention, with the acrylic work 'Cloud 2' embodying the 'DRIVE' brand concept of 'movement.' Additionally, the Bugatti car adorned with KIAN84's designs epitomized Hankook Tire's brand slogan, 'Driving Emotion,' piquing the audience's interest while effectively conveying the company's message.

The renewal of the brand 'DRIVE' took its initial steps with these two exhibitions. 'DRIVE' represents Hankook Tire's cultural brand aimed at fostering stronger emotional connections with consumers. Under that brand, the company plans to host a variety of events spanning art, music, fashion, and F&B. To achieve this goal, the Motor Culture Team at Hankook Tire & Technology diligently monitors the latest trends in the culture and arts sectors, incorporating them into innovative brand initiatives. Let's introduce the people in charge from the Motor Culture Team, who spearheaded the recent art project, and uncover the fascinating stories behind their marketing endeavors.


Hankook Tire is a brand that transcends tire manufacturing to become a leader in culture and emotion communication. As content producers, we strive for a close bond with consumers and execute diverse cultural and artistic projects through our motor culture brand, 'DRIVE,' in an engaging and informal manner.

— Hankook Tire & Technology Motor Culture Team

Q: What are the main responsibilities of the Hankook Tire Motor Culture Team, which is actively engaged in marketing activities in the cultural and arts sector?

A: The Motor Culture Team is dedicated to crafting and evolving Hankook Tire's distinct automotive culture. This includes both B2B marketing and B2C communication, facilitating various projects ranging from lucrative ventures like supercar maintenance and management to automotive-related retail enterprises such as ATLASBX. By focusing on mobility and automotive culture, the Motor Culture Team collaborates across all members to pioneer a fresh approach to marketing rooted in culture and experiential engagement, departing from conventional product or brand-centric marketing strategies.

  • At the 2023 'HAHA' pop-up store, Hankook Tire products took center stage in the form of limited edition desserts and a boombox-shaped package.

Q: Could you introduce some of the major projects the Motor Culture Team has recently undertaken?

A: Last year, projects were mainly carried out in the food and beverage sector. For example, in partnership with 'Halff Coffee,' a premium coffee and dessert cafe, they opened up a pop-up store named 'HAHA' at Shinsegae Department Store and introduced unique tire-shaped donuts. In addition, it was a somewhat unconventional idea for a mobility company to host a pop-up store selling beer, but the Motor Culture Team used this as an opportunity to think outside the box. A new message was delivered by launching the 'Anti-Drunk Driving' campaign and the 'Party Smart, Life Safe' project to promote a safe drinking culture. In addition, we participated in the production of various contents, such as sponsoring music festivals. No matter what project we plan, multiple team members move quickly and actively, carrying out their respective responsibilities with full support at the team level.

  • Hyper Collection, an exhibition of 25 contemporary artists designed and hosted by Hankook Tire.

Q. What areas are the Motor Culture Team focusing on this year?

A: We identified art as the leading cultural trend, prompting us to prioritize art projects in the first half of this year. One notable initiative is the collaborative exhibition titled 'Hyper Collection,' currently showcased at Hyundai Department Store. This exhibition, featuring works from 25 artists, stands out for its remarkable scale, with several artists unveiling new pieces. Concurrently, we sponsored a solo exhibition by KIAN84, a renowned artist and broadcaster, aiming to position Hankook Tire as a premium brand through the theme of 'desire.' These endeavors were undertaken to showcase Hankook Tire's dynamic identity, highlighting its youthful, bold, and casual facets alongside its premium and high-tech image.

Q: I thought the existing culture brand 'Made in Hankook' was also very interesting.

A: Thank you. The aim of establishing a culture brand associated with Hankook Tire is to evolve its conservative image into one that is dynamic and contemporary. Through cultural marketing initiatives, we've enhanced the accessibility of our products by integrating various cultural elements. The 'Made in Hankook' brand, launched in 2021 and active for three years, was developed to align with the retro brand. Beginning this year, it has been rebranded as 'DRIVE,' reflecting a renewed focus on emphasizing Hankook Tire's identity and heritage as a culture brand.

  • Video from the exhibition hall of KIAN84’s solo exhibition 'KIANDO' sponsored by Hankook Tire.

Q. In that case, the value pursued by 'DRIVE' seems to have also been upgraded. Could you give a detailed introduction about that brand?

A: 'DRIVE' is a cultural marketing brand that bridges the present and future, much like tires embodying physical movement. The incorporation of Hankook Tire's skid mark into the brand logo reinforces the theme of motion. Whereas 'Made in Hankook' championed a retro trend, 'DRIVE' aims to cultivate a brand that aligns with contemporary trends, focusing on subculture and embracing individual creativity and taste. We plan to conduct marketing activities across various domains, including fashion, music, and art. Additionally, as a mobility company, we are preparing space marketing initiatives that can encompass motorsports. Another distinction from 'Made in Hankook' lies in the target audience. 'DRIVE' intends to focus its marketing efforts on the 30-40 demographic, comprising individuals with substantial purchasing power who can significantly influence our brand.

Q: KIAN84's solo exhibition, sponsored by 'DRIVE,' gained significant attention. It's anticipated that collaborating with artists wasn't without its challenges, particularly in striking a balance between the company's agenda and the artist's autonomy.

A: That is true. From our perspective, while corporate activities naturally need to integrate corporate branding, we prioritize the artist's individuality and autonomy above all else in the realm of art. Both the 'Hyper Collection' and KIAN84's solo exhibition aimed to seamlessly blend these two aspects. In the 'Hyper Collection,' we conveyed our message to the audience by carefully selecting related artists and works without imposing specific keywords. Similarly, when sponsoring KIAN84's solo exhibition, we encouraged the creation of a work inspired by our brand, yet left the artistic direction entirely up to the artist's interpretation. KIAN84 ingeniously expressed the theme of movement in his work 'Cloud 2,' evoking the image of tires in motion through flowing clouds, which resonated positively with the audience. We are pleased that our marketing philosophy centered on both culture and experience was effectively reflected in these collaborations.

KIAN84 explains his work Cloud 2 sponsored by Hankook Tire.

A: KIAN84's exhibition, particularly his Bugatti wrapping work, received significant attention, earning a place on the main pages of both Naver and Google. As the planner, what are your thoughts on this?

A: The Bugatti wrapping project held special significance. The Bugatti featured in KIAN84's solo exhibition is among the cars utilized by Hankook Tire for high-performance tire research and development. We brainstormed ways to leverage our resources to craft art that would be both distinctive and appealing to a wide audience. We discovered KIAN84's deep passion for automobiles. The Motor Culture Team decided to collaborate with him on the wrapping design, presenting various test cars from our collection for his consideration. Ultimately, he chose the Bugatti. While there were initial doubts about wrapping such a high-value vehicle, the project surpassed expectations, instilling us with newfound confidence. Through our collaboration with artists, I believe we have successfully conveyed our creative endeavors to the public in an innovative and refreshing manner.

  • The Bugatti Chiron adorned with KIAN84's design. The objet stands alongside is Hantas, an artwork paying homage to the renowned candy, crafted from tire materials.

Q: Both exhibitions are currently running smoothly, and I'm eager to know what the Motor Culture Team's next endeavor will be.

A: Last year, our focus was on F&B, followed by art projects in the first quarter of this year. Moving forward, our attention will shift to fashion and music. We're planning to launch fashion items in collaboration with brands featuring a racing motif, and we're also working on producing driving-inspired music. Additionally, we're excited about the upcoming completion of the mobility complex cultural space, slated for next year as part of our space marketing initiative. This space will encompass various services including car washing, maintenance, showroom, F&B, and fashion. Our aim is to create a welcoming environment where consumers can visit frequently, while also providing an offline space to support subculture marketing strategies.

Q : The culture surrounding cars is vast. I've heard that a persona was developed to help clearly define the identity of the 'DRIVE' brand.

A: Motor culture includes a diverse range of fields and holds a somewhat eccentric nature. Our mission is to effectively convey this richness to the public. By intertwining mobility with easily accessible domains like music, art, food and beverage, and fashion, we aimed to resonate with individuals who are at the forefront of trends in these realms. Therefore, the persona crafted during the launch of the ‘DRIVE’ brand represents those inclined towards subcultural content such as independent or art films. In the realm of music, our focus was on enthusiasts of DJ music rather than mainstream idol tunes, while in fashion, we leaned toward niche brands over widely recognized ones. This approach stems from the acknowledgment that subculture now rivals popular culture and that its followers have evolved into trend-setting consumer groups. ‘DRIVE’ endeavors to resonate with these leaders of subcultural trends.

  • Hankook Tire sponsors the ‘Offture’ gallery as part of its cultural brand initiatives.

Q: Corporate cultural sponsorship is often viewed as a form of social contribution that not only enhances brand image but also offers tangible support to artists. In the case of ‘DRIVE’, which brings the spotlight on subculture, how can it effectively collaborate with artists while maintaining its focus?

A: We place great emphasis on sustainability and ESG values, viewing social contribution through cultural and artistic endeavors as integral to our corporate values. Beginning this year, we've initiated sponsorship of Offture, a gallery nestled in Seoul, Korea. Offture serves as a platform for showcasing the works of subculture artists and providing support to emerging talents. Through our year-long sponsorship, we aim to cultivate enduring relationships with artists and foster ongoing dialogue within the artistic community.

Q: What is the ultimate goal that Hankook Tire wants to achieve through the ‘DRIVE’ brand?

A: Going beyond the perception that Hankook Tire is simply a company that manufactures tires, the goal is to build a friendly and positive image as a brand that leads automobile culture. In addition to making products with excellent performance, we plan to pursue a close relationship with consumers as a cultural producer and approach them in diverse and casual ways. We want to become a familiar brand that shows a variety of activities related to car culture.

The artwork from Hankook Tire's motor culture brand-DRIVE; the poster for the Hyper Collection featuring works by 25 contemporary artists (on the left), the poster for KIAN84's solo exhibition titled KIANDO (on the right), can be seen.

Q. Many automobile brands sponsor cultural and artistic activities. What kind of brand would you like Hankook Tire to be remembered as?

A: Hankook Tire's vision is to provide sustainable innovation through cultural and artistic activities related to mobility, integrating the latest technology and trendy culture with subcultures to lead the future of automotive culture. We want to become a brand that sells not only tires, but also an emotional experience.