What's Apple Switcher Advertising Star Ellen Feiss Doing Now?

Ellen Feiss: Left : as in her ad on Switcher and (right) as she is today (Source: Ohio State University)

Student Ellen Feiss may have looked stoned in her famous Apple Switcher ad, but it turns out she wasn't kidding when she claimed that the paper destroyed by the computer was “really good.”

Switcher TV advertising was central to Apple's marketing campaign, which ran briefly in 2002 and 2003. In it, people talked about how and why they switched from PC to Mac.

Overall, the campaign did not bring much success to Apple. The company will achieve much greater impact with its “Get a Mac” campaign, starring John Hodgman as a PC and Justin Long as a Mac.

But Switcher advertising had an impact much greater influence than the others. This ad, featuring Ellen Feiss, then a high school student, stands out because, while talking about how the computer destroyed “half my paper,” she seems a little… out of her element.

Later that year, Feiss told the Post what happened on the set.

“I admit I look pretty ugly in this ad – I think I look terrible,” she said. “It was after school, but I was the last one to film the commercial, so by the time I did it, it was about 10, so I was really tired.”

“The funny thing is, I took drugs!” she added. “I was taking Benedryl, my allergy medication, so I wasn’t up to it anyway.”

“That's why my eyes were red because I have seasonal allergies,” she continued. “But no one believes me.”

She says Apple reached out to her after the ad went viral, “supposedly in consultation with me.”

“They said, 'We don't really want you to take this anywhere,' but I decided to hire an agent anyway,” she continued. In July of that year, Feiss was invited to Macworld, where he met Steve Jobs.

“He called me by name—clever, huh?” She said. “It was brief.”

Feiss was also unimpressed with Macworld. “It's like if you're not in business… I think it's the most boring thing,” she said.

Ellen Feiss in her 2002 Switcher ad

Approximately 21 years after this advertisement, Dr. Feiss joined the Art History Department at Ohio State for the 2023- 2024 – research and teaching activities. She received what the university calls one of the most prestigious postdoctoral fellowships, the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPSP).

Dr. Feiss studies art and politics in Europe and the United States after 1960. Her 2022 PhD in Art History is from the University of California, Berkeley, and her dissertation was on “Art in the War on Poverty, 1959–1973.”

The document that PC ate was “about Chinatown,” she told the Post, “and about the formation of Chinatowns in America.”

“I lost about three pages; it was terrible,” she said. “This was a really, really good article.”

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