Dell ads move from dude to interns

The PC maker launches a new advertising campaign that no longer focuses on its slacker pitchman, Steven.

Margaret Kane Former Staff writer, CNET News
Margaret is a former news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau.
Margaret Kane
Dude, is it over?

Dell Computer has launched a new television ad campaign that doesn't focus on popular pitchman Steven, also known as the "Dell dude."

The Steven character, a slacker teen who was unusually excited by the prospect of a new PC, caught on with consumers and eventually got his own Web site and a line of accessories.

Dell's new ads, which debuted last week, feature a group of interns at Dell's headquarters and factory. Steven will make an appearance in one of the ads, said Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman.

"We're looking at ways to convey the overall brand value with this new campaign and are really excited with tests we did with the new campaign," Kaufman said.

The Steven ads debuted in 2000, featuring New York acting student Ben Curtis. They were created by Dell's ad agency at the time, Lowe, a division of Interpublic Group. Dell's current ad agency, Omnicom Group's DDB, took over the Steven ads and also developed the intern ads.

But Steven's fans shouldn't get too agitated, Kaufman said. "We have an ongoing relationship with Ben Curtis and will continue to have that relationship in the near the future."