Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me Now?” Guy Now Shilling For Sprint

For years, he was the face of Verizon Wireless, popping up in TV and print ads with his “Can you hear me now?” catchphrase. Then, like all commercial fads, this pitchman’s familiar face faded from public view… only to be dusted off and trotted out as a shill for Sprint.

Sprint kicked off a new campaign over the weekend featuring Paul Marcarelli, the guy who appeared in just about every Verizon ad for nearly a decade until 2011, asking viewers if they could hear him now.

But is bringing Marcarelli, who Sprint claims is now a customer of the provider, over to the yellow-side just Sprint picking up Verizon’s sloppy-seconds?

Not according to the fourth-place wireless company, which says that by scoring Marcarelli’s endorsement they have “demonstrated that its fastest and most reliable network ever can lure away even the most iconic people in wireless.”

 

By using the actor Sprint is attempting to call attention to its “vastly improved network and to highlight the savings” the provider offers.

Marcarelli’s appearance in the new commercials look strikingly similar to that of his old home: dark-rimmed classes, blue jacket. The only real difference is he’s swapped out his red shirt for a yellow one.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says in a statement that the company has made “tremendous” advancements in its network, burning its reliability within 1% of Verizon’s.

However, that stat isn’t what the new pitchman is selling. Instead, his spots – and Claure’s sentiments — focus on the company’s claim it can save users up to 50% off their bills from other national carriers.

Of course, it’s these 50% off claims that recently landed Sprint in tepid water with an ad industry watchdog for not exactly being 100% transparent about exactly how much people would save.

Not one to sit on the sidelines, Verizon doesn’t appear to be too worried about its old pitchman’s move.

“They’re using our 2002 pitchman because they’re finally catching up to our 2002 network,” said a Verizon spokesman told CNET.