Scarlett Thomas

A gripping novel about branding, code-breaking, marketing jargon and toys from the acclaimed young writer Scarlett Thomas.

Everyone loves working at PopCo. It’s a very young, very cool company with no dress code, no rules and no set working hours. If you work at PopCo you’re just as likely to pull all-nighters making prototypes as you are to suddenly decamp en masse to Prague for a week of trend-spotting or fact finding. It’s that sort of place.

Alice is the exception. She likes working for PopCo, but she doesn’t love it. She’s good at her job though. She’s inherited a love of puzzles from her grandfather who was a code-breaker at Bletchley Park during the war, and is quietly becoming the star of PopCo’s ‘Ideation’ team.

Now Alice has been called down to a mysterious ‘thought camp’ in Devon with the rest of the team. They’re brainstorming over the toy market for teenage girls. Boys have plenty of crazes from Pokemon cards to videogames, but no one has come up with a killer brand for teenage girls. PopCo want to be first and Alice thinks she’s cracked it, but suddenly she’s not that sure she wants to unleash it on the world. Could it have another application? And how sinister is marketing to children anyway?

PopCo is a compelling story of rivalry, secrecy, big business and branding.

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