Mill Thought | Boo Wong: Now, next, future

The latest addition to our 'Now, next, future' series is The Mill’s Group Director of Emerging Technology, Boo Wong. While we as an industry look to the future and prepare for life after Covid-19, we asked various leaders in different positions around The Mill to gather their thoughts on what things might be like for the industry in the months and years to come.
Thought May 22, 2020


How have advertisers, agencies, and production companies adapted for Covid-19 and what have been the positive changes you have observed during this time?

The forward-thinking, what-if conversations we’re having with our clients and technology partners have been absolutely inspiring. The companies in the pole position are the ones who are listening better, who are able to pivot fast and apply new innovative means by which to connect with their audiences and provide them benefit. With them, we are on the leading edge of the next phase of marketing. In so many ways, this is super cool.

We are seeing renewed interest in VR, continuing growth for AR and other digital platforms to deliver content as well as events, and distinctly confident strides towards the maturation of virtualized spaces and people.



As the industry emerges from Covid-19, what immediate changes do you expect to see?

Where products and services have adapted, and consumers themselves have changed, there will be a rapid evolution in advertising.

Earlier this year, when we thought online retail, entertainment and communication couldn’t possibly be more pervasive than it was, we suddenly found ourselves at home where there were no other options. Existing contactless and autonomous technologies went from business nice-to-haves to mission critical. Every company’s AI and digital twin strategy (of spaces and products, not necessarily characters!) have come under greater scrutiny than ever before.

This will mark the beginning of marketing for new services, products and types of companies coming out of a world that’s experienced a pandemic.



Looking way beyond Covid-19, what does the future of advertising look like and how might this have been influenced by what happened in 2020?

We are accelerating to the integrated and added value model, and away from the cut to advertising model. We can expect successful advertising to be a seamless part of our day to day, in a way that provides value beyond the product or service that is marketed.

Technology-forward AR/VR, web, mobile and gaming platforms will be ever-growing in importance as creation as well as engagement platforms. And when you consider the timing of how this lines up next to the end of the peak smartphone era, it’s truly inspiring to think about the groundbreaking, future-facing strategies that need to be laid.

Level ups that we were already seeing for DOOH and destination-led experiences will be fast-tracked. Our next and future generations will expect gamified and personalized interactions. Game engine-driven platforms + 5G + IoT = smart and always-on advertising. Technology companies are doing the heavy lifting in preparation for the next waves of human-machine interface that we can leverage for truly programmatic and targeted utility, entertainment and advertising.

There is no precedent for this time, and together we will make real the new advertising roadmap for smart spaces and wearables. How exciting!


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