For close to 10 years, it was hard to watch television in the U.S. for more than an hour or two without hearing, "Can you hear me now?", being uttered by the man seen above, actor Paul Marcarelli. From 2002 to 2011, Verizon's commercials charted his sometimes quirky travels as he tested their network just about anywhere they could think to send him. After parting ways with Verizon, he spent the last five years scoring credits as a producer on five different films, including I Am Divine and The Green, and keeping his face largely off of America's television screens. All of that changed recently, however, when Sprint decided to bring Paul into the fold.
His very first commercial for Sprint, titled "Paul Switched", aired during the NBA Finals and depicted a yellow-shirted Paul sporting a yellow-cased Samsung Galaxy S7. The focus of the commercial was not on bashing the competition or even on saying that Sprint was a superior network, but that Sprint offered vastly superior value and had managed to catch up to rival networks. The commercial cites the fact that a recent Nielsen survey pegs Sprint as being only 1 percent away from being on par with Verizon's reliability, long a selling point for their network, while being able to offer customers a ticket onto the network for roughly half that price, all narrated by a very animated Paul Marcarelli, who had reportedly been using Sprint's network himself ever since CEO Marcelo Claure personally approached him about an ad campaign.
The well-known pitchman's eccentric and hyper-animated mannerisms in this new commercial stand in stark contrast to his role as the calm, systematic network tester that he played for Verizon, and seem to be a perfect match for Sprint's new ad house, led by Christopher Ian Bennett. While some may say that Sprint wasted an opportunity by using a very familiar face to air a concession to the state of their network and finances, they're clearly playing to their strengths in a bid to attract new customers, chiefly by swiping them from rival carriers. Whether this attitude will pay off or not is ultimately up to how satisfied customers of other carriers are; those who love their network may not jump ship at the offer of such huge savings, but there are quite a few budget-conscious wireless consumers out there who this new ad could certainly resonate with.