Mixed reality opportunities: an interview with Jan Jelle de Boer from MediaMonks

Copywriter Martin Mol snagged the opportunity to interview Creative Strategist at MediaMonks, Jan Jelle de Boer to talk about all things, all mixed reality.

 

It’s celebration time at the 25th Golden Drum Festival with a day’s full program of workshops, speakers, and as an absolute highlight good old ad-legend John Hegarty, who’s looking back on advertising.

But my interest was also piqued when seeing Jan Jelle de Boer, Creative Strategist at MediaMonks. The Netherland-native graced the stage for the first time, presenting the audience with his talk about ‘The real opportunities of mixed reality’.

He’s doing fine in front of a crowded appearance. No worries at all, not even with the speech. He’s giving clear insight into the what and how of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) with some proof of how it flows. Almost exclusive examples that were made by MediaMonks themselves, but you can hardly mention it as ugly self-promotion because MediaMonks is involved in projects that have resulted in 128 Cannes Lions and counting. So if something is bothering me, it is the subject on its own.

Is it because AR is used lots of times to tell a boring story in a catchy, modern way. Not to mention all the very bad VR and AR shit that is in an overload pile always around us. Yes, it can be good, for example, AR can be very nice when it’s based on a simple, clear, creative idea like the Audi: Enter Sandbox.

I can be negative about VR, maybe it was once a nice novelty but it sucks nowadays when you have to wear those big, black wall sunglasses on your face while hitting everybody around you like Stevie Wonder on good acid.

Mixed Reality is the new kid in town and according to Jan Jelle, that is an opportunity where we creative copywriters can also get involved in.

 

It’s finally time for me to have a talk with Jan Jelle:

 

Me:

I googled what MR is and I read that it overlays and anchors virtual objects to the real world and allows the user to interact with those virtual objects. Am I right or not and, if yes, can you please give me one or two great creative examples of what has been done lately?

Jan Jelle:

In a sense, but overlaying and anchoring sounds too fixed when in reality MR is more fluid in blending the virtual and the physical world. We’re seeing that MR is shaping the next stage of entertainment and storytelling. Take a look at Into the Wild and The Jack Ryan Training Field; Into the Wild transformed the interior of Singapore’s ArtScience Museum into a virtual rainforest, allowing visitors to physically explore the exhibition and see the effects of deforestation. In turn, The Jack Ryan Training Field changed a San Diego parking lot into the biggest 4D experience of Comic-Con. Using VR headsets, OptiTrack, and real-life obstacles to simulate an obstacle course including a helicopter jump, zip-line, and car chase.

Me:

You mentioned sizeable production costs are involved in certain cases. Is VR, AR and also MR only something for the rich and famous brands or will there soon be a kind of MR template in the near future, so small and mid-sized brands can also enjoy the fun?

Jan Jelle:

Since these experiences are almost exclusively custom built to fit within a particular environment or enhance it, I don’t see a template of sorts happening any time soon. But as I mentioned in my presentation, the rule of thumb should always be to focus on the impact first instead of the tech. AR, VR and MR experiences can go above and beyond in achieving that but you don’t necessarily need to break the bank for it. It all starts with a solid creative idea — and if you’re on a tight budget, a very simple one.

Me:

I have only one, but still one big burning question about Mr. Jan Jelle. Please tell me that it is possible with all that MR tech that finally we can smell the sizzling of a steak in a hot pan when watching a cooking program on TV?

Jan Jelle:

Maybe we should be asking ourselves whether we should, rather than if we could. Remember smell-o-vision, the technology that released aromas into movie theatres? Neither does anyone else because it flopped horribly — but you could ask your voice assistant to deliver a sizzling steak from your go-to grill restaurant to your house before the show is finished.

Me:

Ha, that indeed goes back too John Hegarty times: RR (Real Reality).