Verizon’s ‘can you hear me now’ guy switched to Sprint

Remember Verizon’s “can you hear me now” guy? That’s right, he was the one in the carrier’s TV ads that went around the country testing the network’s signal, repeatedly asking, “Can you hear me now?” Well, the so-called “test man” has just switched to Sprint.

Actor Paul Marcarelli finished doing the famous Verizon ads back in 2011 after a nine-year run, but recently received an offer from Sprint that he evidently couldn’t refuse.

The first ad, in what may or may not turn out to be a similarly long-running campaign, aired on Sunday and has Paul explaining why he’s no longer the can-you-hear-me-now guy for Verizon.

Apparently nothing to do with a big fat check, the actor says he’s switched to rival carrier Sprint because its “reliability is now within one percent of Verizon” and because it offers big savings on “most” of the rates offered by its rivals.

“Sprint today demonstrated that its fastest and most reliable network ever can lure away even the most iconic people in wireless,” the company said on Sunday in a creatively worded statement. “Sprint’s analysis of drive test data from Nielsen – covering the top 106 metropolitan markets in the U.S. – shows that Sprint’s reliability now beats T-Mobile’s and performs within 1 percent of AT&T and Verizon.”

It looks to be a shrewd move by the nation’s fourth-largest carrier. The catchy can-you-hear-me-now ads played an important role in increasing Verizon’s profile during the 2000s, and now Sprint is hoping to draw on their success by nabbing Paul – and his familiar bespectacled face – for what it hopes will be an equally memorable campaign that everyone will get to hear about. Now, how long before he shows up at T-Mobile?

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