Baldness as a Brand

As a designer, marketer and all-around cultural observer, I must say that I love Seth Godin. But it is not his trim physique that attracts my attention, it is his head. Particularly the top of his head.

There it is in every photograph, in every video, like a shining beacon of intelligence and humor. I wonder if he has ever had hair, or perhaps he has a full, luxuriant growth that he has to secretly mow every day.

Seth Godin made a brand out of baldness.
For this image to work as an icon he has to be completely bald. Not a glimmer or hint of living follicles can grace the top of his cranium, not one hair can survive the razor’s edge of his intellect and his drive to be remarkable. He has to be proud of being bald, no hiding it or combing it over.

His head resembles a light-bulb.
When a man is truly bald, he cannot help being noticed. As an idea-man, I am sure that he knew that the best way to show that he is a genius was to have his head look like that icon of idea-generation: a light-bulb. Why not use baldness as a way to take over the (marketing) world?

Baldness as a brand is not new, in fact, it may be the Idea-Virus that Seth caught as he tussled with how to make himself a Purple Cow in the eyes of the public and peers. Seth had a historical precedent: movie star Yul Brenner struggled to become famous, and couldn’t make any headway until he allowed his razor full access to the top of his cranium. A shiny skull made Yul an icon in the movie world, making him somehow irresistible to female fans, but it didn’t convey the idea that he was the Mensa of Marketing.

How did Seth ever hit on the brilliant idea of turning what most men might think of as a liability into a memorable brand? I like to imagine a thought bubble emanating from his celebrated cerebellum:

“Now, what can I do to make my image remarkable?” “How can I convey the idea that I am a marketing genius just by using my head?”

The solution is now history.

Copyright Aliyah Marr