Ahead of her time? Were Faith Popcorn’s predictions correct for 2018?

October 3, 2018

She is not a psychic or a fortune-teller. However, “futurist” Faith Popcorn claims that her strategic consultancy, the New York City-based BrainReserve, can tell her corporate clients—with 95% accuracy—what’s ahead in the shifting consumer and cultural landscape. And she has been offering her remarkably accurate insights into impending American lifestyle trends through her TrendBank since 1974.

 But just how reliable is Popcorn? In 1986, she told Coca-Cola that bottled water would be the Next Big Thing. A couple of years later, she gave Kodak a heads-up that film was on its last legs.

We took a look at some predictions that Popcorn offered to Advertising Age in January 2018, to see whether she was “on the money” for this year.

Note: Popcorn said her predictions would not reach the mainstream for at least 15-20 years, but that signs would begin emerging during the year ahead.

To begin with, Popcorn painted “ a shockingly bleak view of gender relations in the wake of the sexual harassment scandals” that rocked the corporate and entertainment worlds in 2017: The sexes will be separated, she predicted—at least at work, she told Ad Age.

“I think there will be female-only floors in companies and male-only floors,” she says. “There will be rage rooms where men can act out because they are going to be very angry.”

Second, Popcorn told the trade journal, “digital doctors” will become increasingly popular. A trip to the doctor could soon become obsolete as people increasingly monitor their health via embedded computer chips, swallow-able trackers, and color-changing dots that rest on the skin’s surface, Popcorn predicted.

“Doctors are going to become keyboard technicians,  because all the measuring apertures will be in your body,” she says. “You can have a full checkup without even being there.”

Amazon—which is eyeing a move into prescription drug marketing—will play a major role on this new health playing field, she suggested. The company “can control the entire supply chain and tap their deep data insights,” her firm stated in its 2018 predictions presentation.

As for the number-one upcoming health threat, Popcorn predicted that anxiety would be rife nationwide. And, she said, virtual reality will prove to be the most-used stress-relief solution.

Instead of hitting the road for a relaxing vacation, for instance, people will plug into a VR experience. “You don’t really go anywhere,” Popcorn says.

 With VR, nothing is out of reach, including a relaxing trip to outer space or a Narnia-like snow voyage, her firm predicts. Brands could get involved by buying ad placements in these virtual weekends away. “It’s a new media,” she said.

On the weather front, Popcorn anticipated that climate change would lead to strict environmental monitoring and extreme survivalist solutions, with shore towns, under threat from rising tides, being replaced by floating cities, according to the predictions presentation.

Finally, back in January, Popcorn forecast, “Your interior life is about to go public,” noting that technology like facial recognition will be used to monitor our moods.

Your escape mechanism? “Private, scan-free get-togethers where people can vent, mourn and rejoice without prying AI eyes” will take hold.

For most of us these predictions may be too close for comfort. Brace yourselves: Popcorn’s 2019 predictions will be out soon.

 Research contact: info@faithpopcorn.com

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