Origins: Actor Benjamin Curtis, who played the wise-cracking "Steven" in the more than a dozen "Dude, you're getting a Dell" television commercials, was arrested for marijuana possession on
Because TV viewers noticed a cessation of the popular "Dell Dude" commercials in the aftermath of Curtis' drug bust, most people assumed that Dell had immediately dropped both the "Steven" character and Curtis himself because the latter's arrest had made him an embarrassment to the company. But although Dell did eventually terminate the actor's contract with them (citing a violation of company policy), the fact was that the "Dell Dude" character was already on the way out in favor of a new less "dude-centric" ad campaign before the Curtis
Although Dell had done well with its advertising centered on the "Steven" character, the campaign had been underway for three years and was getting stale. Moreover, there was a real chance the product was becoming overshadowed by the pitchman as the "Dell Dude" became more of a cultural icon as time went by. Dell deemed it time for a change, hence the shift to the interns. And the changes all took place before things went to pot, as it were.
Barbara "the Dell Dude's arrest ends speculation that marijuana was a gateway drug" Mikkelson
Last updated: 5 August 2007
Kauffman, Matthew. "Arrest Stings, But Dell Dude Was Already on Way Out." The Hartford Courant. 12 February 2003 (p. E1). CNN.com. "'Dell Dude' Released After Marijuana Arrest." 11 February 2003 (p. C3). Los Angeles Times. "Dell Dude Arrested on Pot Charge." 11 February 2003 (p. C3).