New York City
|Alma mater||New York University (BA)|
|Employer||Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve|
|Known for||The Popcorn Report,|
Clicking, EVEolution,The Dictionary of the Future
Faith Popcorn (born as Faith Plotkin) is a futurist, author, and founder and CEO of marketing consulting firm BrainReserve. She has written three best selling books:The Popcorn Report (1991), Clicking (1996), and EVEolution (2000).
Born as Faith Plotkin, she later legally changed her name to "Faith Popcorn." She was born in New York and spent her early childhood in Shanghai, China, before returning to the United States. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, followed by New York University. Accepted into NYU Law School, she decided instead to go into advertising in the early 1970s, which she said she considered to be more glamorous.
After working in advertising for eight years, she founded the marketing consulting firm BrainReserve in 1974. It works with companies to identify future trends that will affect their business. Popcorn is reported to have advised Coca-Cola, in 1981, to go into bottled water and to have told Kodak in the late 1980s to go into digital instead of print.
She coined terms like "Cocooning" ("the impulse to stay inside when the outside gets too tough and scary", such as turning a home into a nest) and "Cashing Out" ("the impulse to change one's life to a slower and more rewarding pace", sometimes manifested by people who quit corporate jobs). Her company created a "TalentBank" of 10,000 experts who provide forecasts about trends across many topics. It also analyzes newspapers, magazine and other sources, and conducts thousands of consumer interviews to spot future trends.
In a series of nine 2006 predictions of major trends, she forecast a cultural trend toward more physical contact, including "mechanized hugging booths." She also said that "second hand nostalgia" would become a trend and that advances in genetics might allow people to custom design pets with bits of their own DNA so their dogs and cats resemble them. Other examples from this series of predictions included "mood tuning" products, such as clothing infused with "neuro-chemicals" to enhance confidence or mental acuity, demand for exercising "brain fitness", possibly manifesting itself in "brain trainers" to exercise recall or "retort coaches" to help people sharpen their wit.
A 2008 Los Angeles Times entertainment section article, following Popcorn's predictions over a period of five years, credited her with identifying trends such as "food coaches" and "transcouture". In 2014, she predicted to The Hollywood Reporter that films would become immersive events, taking place all around you, where consumers could choose their own avatars as characters. She also predicted Fan Films, similar to Fan Fiction. In 2015, she renewed her 1991 prediction that "humanoid robots" would become companions and workers. At an IBM-sponsored conference, she predicted robots would replace one third of jobs in the developed world and that governments would initiate a "disemployment tax" as an incentive to keep people employed. She forecast virtual reality vacations and said the average adult would work for several companies simultaneously.
Business book author William A. Sherden takes a skeptical view of her ideas about cocooning. He provides statistics showing double digit percentage growth in activities outside the home in the five years following her prediction. The U.S. Postal Service paid $566,000 to Faith Popcorn to envision a viable future for the post office, an engagement that was criticized by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, in his annual list of 100 examples of "wasteful" spending.
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