The fantastic tale of Young Branson, innovator

The image of Richard Branson -- inventor, entrepreneur, man of action -- gets burnished even further with a new advertisement by Virgin Mobile, his wireless company.

The image of Richard Branson -- inventor, entrepreneur, man of action -- gets burnished even further with a new advertisement by the American arm of Virgin Mobile, his wireless company.

In it, a young Branson is depicted being the outsider, the rogue, the daydreamer who seeks to improve the world he lives in -- despite everyone calling him, as they do in one scene of this ad, "mental."

Here's a look:

It's a rather cheeky spot, and it certainly makes you like the guy. (Not bad for the richest man in Britain during tough economic times.) But the commercial also helps a great deal in ridding of the image of innovator-as-geeky-lab-rat and replacing it with a suave, cool, gets-the-girl fellow with long hair and access to zero gravity -- the kind of character you usually only see in alcohol advertisements.

Smart and cool: not mutually exclusive. It's a small step for STEM-kind. We dig it.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com