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The kid you see in the Dell television advertisements.

People today may not remember who George Whipple is, or the Maytag repairman, but they do know this kid. He's really well known for one phrase "Dude, you're getting a Dell."

He looks like a rather dim high school kid, trying to sell a computer to his friend's parents, then in later commercials sitting on a couch and comparing it to a old computer that you can replace for under $1000US.

Somehow he's reached cult status, with fan mail from teenage girls and senior citizens. Dell credits him and the ads for giving Dell a 16.5% increase in market share.

From CNN.com's article:

The young Tennessee native was discovered by Dell's former New York agency, Lowe Worldwide. Dell, however, moved its $200 million account to another agency, DDB Chicago, last year and used Curtis' talent to make a series of successful commercials.

Curtis is so popular that it became difficult for him to complete a photo shoot this week without a fan shouting or running over to grab a little bit of him.

"I want a Dell, dude!" shouted one teen-age boy. "Can I have a hug?" asked a teen-age girl.

Curtis won't reveal what he makes for the ads, but he told USA Today that "it helps with school and living in New York."

Curtis told the paper that he eventually hopes to make independent films. He says he is not sure how long Steve's appeal will last but that he will enjoy the perks along the way.

'People are talking'

Dell is enjoying the Steven exposure all the way to the bank. The company says its recognition factor has doubled.

Industry observers have recognized the remarkable achievement. "There's nothing else going on right now that people are talking about like this in the advertising world," says Todd Wasserman of Brandweek magazine, an advertising trade publication.

The marketing strategy is simple: A young guy will get people to buy.

But Steven's appeal goes beyond his youthful age group. "I think he's the best thing since sliced bread," said one white-haired gentleman in Times Square, perhaps indicating the Dell guy does not appeal only to the teen set.

Curtis explains, "We found an energy that a lot of people can appeal to, and if you don't hate it, you can laugh at it."

http://www.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/TV/01/31/dell.guy/index.html (even a video interview)

Personally, I can't see why so many people go for him, he's the dopey personality I stayed away from in High school. Maybe it's because he doesn't look like a geek, he looks normal, like the kind of guy who'd buy an iMac for its ease of use.

I'm not sure if I could complain, I happened to like Jeff Goldblum in the iMac ads, and I long for the day when he returns to talk about the flat-panel iMacs.

One of the big gossip pieces that got widespread news was that Ben got arrested in February 2003 for purchasing marijuana in downtown Manhattan on the Lower East Side (at Ludlow and Rivington). His drug dealer was Omar Mendez. The charge carries a misdemeanor.

Why do I have a strong suspicion that he reads E2? Could he be...Roninspoon?


Roninspoon says re: Steven Curtis: Dude, that's just mean. I do hate that kid.

Well, it sure isn't TheBooBooKitty, he's way too cool for that.

"Dude, you're getting a Dell!"
--The Dell Stoner

Ben Curtis, also known as The Dell Stoner, The Dell Dude, and "Steven" in the ads, has been a marketing success for the large computer manufacturer.

Since the first "Dell Dude" ad aired in 2001, Dell computer sales have steadily increased. In fact, "Steven" has been such a success for Dell, that he has developed a cult following. Fan sites are everywhere on the internet (of which many teenage girls are quoted as reffering to Ben as "sexy" and looking like "a great lover"). 'Discussion boards buzz with a frenzy whenver a new "Dell Dude" commercial airs. Even Saturday Night Live has spoofed the Dell Dude character.

Curtis, born in 1982 and graduating from McCallie High School in Tennessee, was a struggling drama student from New York, until he struck the kind deal with Dell. For the famed part of "Steve," Ben beat out over 100 other actors for the chance to star in the Dell campaign.

In the commercial, he plays a stoner/surfer type character who hounds his parents, his friends, his friends parents, and random people in his dorm hall to buy a Dell computer. Ben is a perfect salesman, stressing lots of accessories and the great bargain.

So famous is Ben Curtis, that he has been quoted as "Gen X's answer to Where's the Beef?," by the Wall Street Journal and "lovable" by USA Today. I personally know people who are practically religious about taking a 'hit' in honor of the "Dell Dude" whenever one of the commercials air!

Dell has recently toned down their use of the "Dell Dude" in their advertising campeigns, but assure Ben Curtis' fans, that he will be back, better than before.

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