Remember the Dell Guy? "Dude, you're gettin' a Dell"? He ended up getting busted in 2003 for buying pot and that was the end of his career. As of last November, the Dell Dude, a.k.a. Ben Curtis, was seen waiting tables at Tortilla Flats in New York
, consigned to that particular media hell that awaits yesterday's TV commercial phenoms. I imagine there's a bar somewhere -- perhaps even Tortilla Flats -- where all those people sit around and swap stories about the Good Old Days. Picture Dell Dude swapping stories with Mr. Whipple and the Maytag Repairman, before both of them died. Or if he were doing mushrooms, perhaps he's knocking back a few mojitos with Speedy Alka-Seltzer,
the Trix Rabbit
, Markie Maypo, Bert & Harry Piel, Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
But he shouldn't feel too bad, because with any luck at all, he'll have a new companion soon -- FreeCreditReport.com Guy.
You know the ads I'm talking about; they are ubiquitous. It's this sort-of-cute guy with tousled blonde curls singing with an utterly deadpan expression about the horrors that identify theft have brought upon his life. Come on, admit it: You've gotten out of bed on more than one morning with the song he sings in the pirate costume stuck in your head all day -- right down to the accompaniment on the spoons. You hate those ads, but they stick with you. Those songs lodge in your head and won't let go.
Most of these are just funny, but occasionally they veer off into offensiveness, like the one Melissa discussed last fall
, in which Credit Card Boy is perfect while his new bride thinks she's Imelda Marcos.
You hate FreeCreditReport.com guy too, don't you. You can't wait for him to go away. I know I can't. Except that for now, he's the hottest thing in American advertising
, star of his own 30-second sitcom in which he experiences different misadventures all the time, as a result of his not signing up for a paid service that you can get for free.
Of course it turns out that this guy is just about as ersatz as the company for which he shills. It's not his voice in the ads. Turns out he's, of all things, French-Canadian. There's some kind of Bushonomics joke in there somewhere, but I don't have time to go looking for it. All I know is that I can't wait till the day this tousled troubador is seen drowning his sorrows with Dell Dude over some ersatz Tex-Mex at Chevy's.