Long before Facebook or Apple took our generation by storm during the 2000s, the technology was all about new laptops urging people to take part in the globalization of their daily lives. And if you are a 2000s kid, you must remember the infamous Dell commercial. Let’s talk about the commercial itself and what happened to Ben Curtis, the guy behind it.
The Dell Commercial
One of the iconic TV commercials you could not have skipped from the early 2000s was the Dell commercial. No TV show was complete without a chirpy voice vehemently exclaiming how you can get a Dell computer! The face of the guy exclaiming this was ingrained in the mind of the viewers. His name is Ben Curtis, and he played Steve in the commercial. It was pretty impossible to miss him out with his catchphrase echoing from everywhere, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell.”
The catchphrase, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” proved to be the most amusing part of the commercial advertising campaign for the company. The ads would entail Steven addressing the target audience and explaining all the perks of purchasing a Dell. So, when the prospective buyers finalized the deal, Steven (played by Curtis) would close the ad with the infamous catchphrase.
The ads were super hit as they made the catchphrase synonymous with something celebratory.
How was Ben Curtis Selected?
When Ben Curtis was signed for this commercial in 2000 that changed his life forever, he was a 19-year old student at NYU. He was starred as a goofball spokesman in the commercial. The series of commercials starring Curtis paved the way for Dell becoming a massive hit among the masses.
The company looked for an actor between 12 and 17 years old to perform in the commercials; however, Ben Curtis still booked the role. He was initially cast for 2 or 3 commercials only. Nevertheless, the audiences loved the Dell dude, and Curtis winded up doing about 26 commercials for Dell.
The Wall Street Journal claims that this slew of commercials helped Dell gain a significant market share at that time. In one of the ads, Steve is seen convincing his mother to get a Dell which came along a printer or Palm m100 and DellNet internet for just $999 by MSN.
What Happened to the Dell Dude?
In another one of the ads, Steven helps a neighbor solve his computer problems by redirecting them to the Dell computers. He is on his way with his girlfriend when he notices his neighbor in a quandary over computer problems. He seems to be handling the computer situation much better than his personal life as the neighbor points out that he is using his father’s car to go on a date with his girl.
For three years, Ben Curtis enjoyed his fame as the Dell dude. In 2003, the company ended all the contracts with him in the wake of his arrest in the alleged purchase of a bag of marijuana. He was arrested on his way back from a Scottish-themed party, and jokes went viral on emails back then.
“Dude, you’re getting a cell!” was by far the most shared one. Emails were the hip thing during those times, and every time you opened an email from a friend or acquaintance, you could find a hilarious image or joke in it.
Soon, the charges against Curtis were dropped, but he and Dell parted ways as a part of their drug-free environmental policy. According to Curtis, he had learned a great deal from this big life-altering event. He learned how to survive the world when he could not find any work because he was stereotyped for the only role he did in his life for Dell.
“I was the Dell dude everywhere,” recalls Curtis in an interview with CNBC, “and it was not a very good thing for the first time.” His six-figure earning was all spent in paying back the student loans, and not much of it remained in his account when he was out of work. He regards this time of his life as the most inspirational one.
According to Business Insider, Curtis became a yoga instructor and founded his wellness company. In an interview entailing what has the Dell dude been up to, Business Insider reports that the 39-year old actor is a life coach and teaches yoga. His Instagram handle is full of inspirational quotes and uplifting videos.
What has Ben Curtis Been Doing Lately?
Vowing not to leave acting in its entirety, Curtis expressed his solemn goals to finally be selected for a role in Orange Is the New Black, a TV show he had auditioned quite a few times. As an aspiring artist who wished to continue his career for a long time, Curtis was shot to a quick downfall after his drug scandal and arrest.
However, his wish came true in 2018, when he appeared in an episode of season 6 of Orange Is the New Black. He also appeared as a guest on many other short films and TV shows, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
In addition to all these acting gigs and opportunities, Curtis played Christian in the Off-Broadway comedy by John Fisher in 2005. This off-Broadway show ran for about 15 days at the Actor’s Playhouse in Manhattan’s West Village.
In 2006, he also played opposite Jonathan Togo in a short film, Raccoon.
Dell and the Dell Dude Again!
If you recall the commercials of those times when every kid would remember most of the TV ads by heart and sing the tune as if it were school lessons, then you are a witness to the golden ages of the TV.
After a good 20 years, the news floating around on the internet is the Dell dude catching up with Dell to promote the recycling initiative. According to a Tweet from Dell’s official Twitter handle, Ben Curtis is back with the company that introduced him to the world as the Dell dude. The campaign entails visiting Dell’s website and providing all the information about the items you need to recycle.
The new catchphrase seems to be catchier and more accurate than the last one, “Dude, a lot can happen in 20 years”. Dell hopes to reawaken the same emotions and sensations of the audiences as the past times when Dell products were evolving.