You know you’ve reached a certain level of cultural penetraton when you are parodied on SNL. I vaguely remember a sketch from last Saturday’s show taking on Dell’s “Steven” character, their relentlessly cheerful and insistent pitchman.
Well now the dude may be getting dumped:
- Dell Computer Corp.’s sales of personal computers have soared since the advent of the fictional pitchman “Steven,” known for his catchphrase, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!”
But perhaps fearful of a backlash against the ubiquitous Steven, who playfully harangues friends and strangers into buying a Dell PC, the company said on Monday it is moving on to a new, less dude-centric advertising campaign.
“We’re trying to look at some alternatives,” said Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman, who said the company is currently airing ads that feature a group of eager interns. “We test ran some of the interns spots during the summer and got some positive reactions.”
Kaufman declined to say if the “Steven” campaign was merely on hiatus, or gone for good.
In two years, Steven, played by 21-year-old New York University acting student Ben Curtis, has become a cult advertising figure not seen since the likes of Joe Izuzu and Clara Peller of Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” fame.
Here is a profile of Curtis from the Dell site:
- Ben Curtis is a rising star who is currently starring prominently in Dell Computer Corporation’s national advertising campaign as “Steven,” a hip teenager who convinces his parents, his friend’s parents and random people at the mall to buy computers from Dell. This campaign has been highly successful and has given Ben a great launch pad to further his thespian aspirations.
Ben recently hosted the “Sundance Report” at the Sundance Film Festival 2002 and has been seen in coverage on the Today Show, CNN, ABC’s 20/20 Downtown, and in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the St. Petersburg Times and many other publications.
He has been dubbed a “breakout star” by Entertainment Weekly, “Gen X’s answer to Where’s the Beef?,” by the Wall Street Journal and “lovable” by USA Today.
When Ben is not playing “Steven” he is a third year student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He recently performed in a NYU production of Sam Shephard’s “Buried Child” as the lead character Vince.
Ben hails from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He first got the “acting bug” when performing magic shows in his hometown. Ben’s next step could take him just about anywhere as he’s currently auditioning for several opportunities with TV, film, and theatre.