As the team brainstormed how to make the event its most successful year yet, Jeff Hake, Founder and CEO of JNT Company, started exploring new ways of marketing through virtual reality.
“We worked with a company to create ‘Santa’s Sleigh Ride,’ and I teamed up with an engineer that actually builds flight simulators with motion platforms,” said Hake. “He and I worked together to basically sync the VR experience with motion.”
After completing a successful event, JNT Company formed VR InMotion, a subsidiary of JNT that focuses wholly on marketing within the combination of VR and motion simulators.
“We want to get it as big as a brand like IMAX,” said Hake. “We’re working with a couple of partners right now that are considering installing permanent VR InMotion theaters. The fixtures would have new VR experiences every three or four months.”
The team is currently exploring a potential partnership with Flint Hills Discovery Museum in Manhattan.
“The VR motion simulator would hopefully lead to more foot traffic for the museum, as well as provide a new interactive way for guests to learn about what the museum has to offer,” said Hake.
VR as the future of marketing
Hake explained that these VR motion simulators can potentially double as a marketing tool. He said that the team could potentially sell advertisements and product placement within the VR experience. He added that the team experimented with product placement when creating, “Santa’s Sleigh Ride.”
“We put our VR InMotion logo on some of the semi trucks within the experience, and we instantly heard feedback from the kids watching it,” said Hake. “They would say, ‘Those are the VR guys!’”
Hake said that by implementing this new form of advertising, the team is trying to capitalize on a consumer’s feeling versus traditional reading when it comes to ad space.
“Our main pitch with this experiment is that with advertising you can see or read something 15 to 20 times and not remember what you read, versus the experience of feeling, where the chances are much higher of you remembering a brand, because you associate it with a feeling,” said Hake.
Hake added that while doing his research on VR, he found typical VR experiences to be overwhelming.
“In my own testing, no one wants to wear a headset for an extended amount of time,” said Hake. “So we came up with this short-lived, thrill experience that gives people that ‘wow’ factor in [the] mix with motion, so that they can become fully immersed with it and leave wanting more.”
Hake said after the Festival of Lights, he is confident that the team is onto something special.
“People waited over an hour to ride the VR motion simulator in 10 degree weather,” said Hake. “Every video I’ve seen of people riding the simulator has been pretty amazing. People are really excited about it, and it’s really helping spread the buzz.”
What’s next for JNT Company
Along with VR InMotion, JNT Company strives to be an innovator in the marketing space. After nine years of serving a diverse group of clients, Hake explained that JNT Company has also been active in creating custom solutions for their clients.
“We’ve developed multiple software platforms including ‘New Element’ and ‘Merlin,’” said Hake.
These technologies consist of a performance-driven marketing solutions portfolio (New Element) and a customizable content management system (Merlin). Hake explained that New Element helps business owners and their teams use the information from data they already have to make improvements to their businesses in real-time. Merlin helps enterprising business owners launch new ideas and expand their reach across Kansas, the U.S. and North America.
Hakes added that overall, JNT Company is trying to make marketing more tangible.
“We’re really trying to work with our clients in a more holistic approach,” said Hake. “If we insert ourselves into their business, we’re confident that we can help them not only reach their goals, but also show them their ROI.”
Mel Lucks is a regional freelance journalist and former intern for Silicon Prairie News and AIM.