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Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes
by Mark J. Penn
Release date: September 5
The Clintons' polling guru, coiner of "soccer mom," and CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller identifies 75 emerging groups just waiting to be exploited by a savvy company or politician. And each one gets handled in five pages or less.
Our three favorites:
Cougars No one has created appropriate vacation spots or birthday cards for women who date younger men. Get on it, Hallmark!
Extreme Commuters People who travel at least 90 minutes each way to work are the perfect audience for meals in a cup, satellite radio, and big houses in the sticks.
Caffeine Crazies As even 10-year-olds become espresso heads, caffeine-fortified foods and buzz bars (no alcohol, just stimulants) are percolating possibilities. —David Lidsky
Base of the Pyramid Conference
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Poor people are hot. Here's your chance to get the latest on how to alleviate poverty while simultaneously engaging in business development.
"The entertainment industry is one way to predict what the trends are going to be," says Mitch Litvak, RoadShow founder. At this conference, entertainment execs premiere the next 6 to 18 months' worth of movies, TV, music, and gaming products so brand marketers can hunt for opportunities to develop Happy Meals and other tie-ins. Last year, New Line Cinema pitched its movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray. It ultimately led to Carnival Cruise Lines creating "the Hairspray experience." "We have karaoke nights, and dance instructors teach moves from the film," says Lance Still, an executive VP at New Line. Nickelodeon, Universal Music, and Warner Bros. are among this year's presenters. "We'll be highlighting Speed Racer, Steve Carell's Get Smart remake, and Where the Wild Things Are," says Warner senior VP of domestic promotions Mimi Slavin. —Aimee Rawlins
Seventy high-tech firms get just minutes to debut their latest for VCs and other players at this semiannual confab. The trend this time? Web apps that manage our entire lives—not just one aspect, such as photo sharing—says exec producer Chris Shipley. One to watch: Generate g2, which finds business opportunies by merging your contacts with company news and data.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.