Remember the Dell Dude? His name was Steven and portrayed by actor Ben Curtis in a Dell commercial advertising campaign during the early 2000s. He was a chipper college kid who informed perspective buyers about the perks of owning a Dell computer. When the customer was sold on the idea, Steven would spout "Dude, you're getting a Dell!"
That phrase would help Dell become a household name. It reportedly not only helped push PC sales on the consumer market, but then-19-year-old Curtis' acting career. The character and his catchphrase was effective and quite memorable to those who were old enough to sink $899 into a Pentium 4-based desktop.
But in 2003 Curtis was busted purchasing a bag of marijuana, and thus charged and arrested for criminal possession. News of the arrest quickly spread, but Dell insisted that the company still had a relationship with the actor. Shortly after the arrest, Curtis was fired over "unspecified violations of company policy," and the Dell Dude campaign was replaced with a new set of commercials about three Dell interns.
In recent weeks, there have been reports about Dell going private, and possibly even funded by Microsoft itself. Like other PC manufacturers and component suppliers in the PC sector, Dell is feeling a financial pinch in the pocket due to falling sales as consumers flock to tablets and smartphones. The company has dropped to the #3 PC company in America, and its life preserver is seemingly the growing enterprise sector.
But Curtis thinks the company should resurrect the 2000s icon instead, and he could be right. "I think they’re making a huge mistake and simply need to bring back the Dell Dude!" he said. "That’s it. That’s all they need to do. If they brought me back, their sales, stock and media presence would skyrocket. That is by FAR the smartest move they could make."
Curtis told Bloomberg in an email that America agrees with his statement, that Dell should bring back the goofy character to boost sales in the consumer market. Or maybe he just needs a job. "My fans are the ones that say and know this," he added. "I’m just the messenger."
It would be interesting to see the Dell Dude ten years later.