The “Switcher” who became an an Internet phenomenon

Ellen Feiss in Apple “Switcher” TV Commercial

Prior to Apple’s “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” series of television commercials, the company ran the “Switch” campaign beginning in 2002. The ads featured ex-Windows users discussing the assorted bad experiences that motivated them to switch to a Macintosh. Some of the ads featured celebrities such as Tony Hawk and Will Ferrell.

But of all the “Switchers”, Ellen Feiss was perhaps the most notable. A high school sophomore at the time, Feiss told the story of her Windows PC destroying a term paper she was writing. (“It’s kind of… a bummer.”)

When the “Switcher” ad featuring her first aired, why did Ellen Feiss gain immense notoriety overnight and become an Internet phenomenon?