Sy Sperling, founder of the Hair Club for Men and a pioneering direct marketer, has died at age 78, according to the company website.
Sperling marketed the firm through direct-response TV spots and space advertisements, famously using the line “I’m not only the Hair Club president, but I’m also a client.”
Under the Sperling family’s leadership, the Hair Club for Men donated custom hair restoration products for children who had lost their hair during cancer treatment.
Founded in 1976, the company reportedly started its TV advertising in 1982.
In 1983, Sperling protested when Gentleman’s Quarterly announced it was cutting loose some of its DR space advertisers because it was upgrading its image. Sperling argued in an interview that Hair Club offered a legitimate product that had helped many people.
Having founded the firm after he began losing his own hair, Sperling said he knew the loss of confidence caused by hair loss. He advised people to “live life to the fullest, take chances and risks, and believe in yourself.”
The company says on its website: "Colleagues, friends, and family recall Mr. Sperling as a visionary with an immense passion for business, innovation and helping others."
The company has served over 600,000 customers, and now has 120 centers.