Fantastic Sams
Commentary by Steven B. Goldsmith, May 2002

This commercial was sent to us by a reader in California. Fantastic Sams is a chain of over 1,300 hair salons across the United States with stores in four other countries.

In many ways, this commercial is similar to the Wall Street Journal commercials which were reviewed here. The denigration of short men is subtle and many people will miss it. Like one of those, this commerical shows two men in an elevator. The tall man is well-dressed and handsome with a good looking hair style. He is very cool. The short, balding man is obnoxious. He jumps around the elevator like a caged monkey, making faces and shadow boxing. As the commercial closes, the tall man thinks to himself, "Gotta be the hair", which is the tag line for this company.

We wonder if it isn't something else. We wonder if Fantastic Sams isn't also inferring that to be cool, you need not only to have a good hair style but to look like a movie star. And that you have to be tall. We wonder if they are telling us, in a subtle way, that if you are short, you might as well play the clown or the court jester because that is what you are. It is sad that the medieval link between court jest and short stature is still being played out at the dawn of the 21st Century.