Can You Hear Me Now…On Sprint?


She Said: Giovanna Gatto

Grey shirt with squared brimmed glasses, subtle nerd, the original hipster, Paul Marcarelli. Who is Paul Marcarelli you ask? Well, he is the “Can You Hear Me Now,” guy that appeared on the Verizon commercial for some odd years.    However, through acquired knowledge from actively watching television, Mr. Marcarelli is now sporting a yellow shirt as he represents the competitor company Sprint.

When I first heard about this I was left with so many crucial questions. Why did he switch companies? Was this because of a higher financial offer? How is this affecting the power of both providers advertisements?

These may be questions where I am the only one actually fascinated by. Yet, my purpose of this week’s discussion is to explain why this change in media reads so much deeper. It is something that we should think about and a topic that affects us passively as consumers.

Paul Marcarelli is an actor. However, he is also a small scale celebrity. He is known by his face, his catchphrase and his footprint in Verizon’s commercials. Thus, when this change took place, I felt betrayed and misled while experiencing questionable emotions. I am more concerned with why I even care.

His movement to Sprint created a conversation. A moment where I pondered the chess game that advertisers play. It created the thought of how a person’s presence in media can affect the viewer.

Now, Paul Marcarelli is no Michael Phelps endorsing Subway, but that is the impact that his developed image has created.

His face is associated with a brand, so when Sprint scooped him up and took him away from his foundation, people noticed.

This is a close to an era, the phrase, “Can you hear me now?” will not have the same influence on future generations.

I grew up mocking the Verizon guy, whenever my signal crashed. It was a trademark. It was relevant and it was subtly implemented into my life.

Sprint has cleverly controlled the influence of Paul Marcarelli and rebranded him to their benefit. Personally, I think this is a fascinating concept. Sprint has taken something that has already spent years developing and simply used the fuel to their advantage.

Imagine if the Geico Gecko and Jake from State Farm switched places. Hello this is “Gecko from State Farm,” it just doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue.

This is where Sprint’s wit has shown strength. Their commercials allude to the fact that he once was the face of Verizon. Sprint is not shying away from their clear theft. They are using their actions and the situation to their advantage.

Sprint you are clever and intelligent in your world of branding. However, let this be an example for us as consumers.

We are all victims to advertisements and we are constantly being sold. It is important as an active participant of our world that we know when to look at media and when to read between the lines.

Can you hear me now?

He Said: Anthony Mattariello

Brand recognition is the surest way to a consumer’s heart. Companies for years have been trying to have consumers associate certain things with their brand.   

For example, the gecko will forever be synonymous with Geico, an apple will always be associated with the iPhone.   

These are prime examples of successful business tactics that all companies use.  Some companies, however, are not so successful.   

The Verizon guy, although well received, didn’t last forever. His catch phrase “Can you hear me now?” became widely known across the world.

Many people in my generation grew up watching this guy in between their favorite programs. Personally he made watching commercials more enjoyable for me, but this enjoyment didn’t last as long as I wanted it to.      

However the actor, Paul Marcarelli, didn’t stay in the spotlight as long as he hoped. Verizon dropped him as their “test man” and decided to pursue other advertising tactics.

Since Paul Marcarelli isn’t an A-list actor, or even a B-list actor for that matter, he was forced to lay low for a while…five years to be exact.   

If you’ve been watching television lately than you would know that Paul has come out of hiding and reemerged into cell phone commercials. However, Marcarelli isn’t sporting the classic Verizon jacket.   

Paul has been hired by Sprint in possibly the best advertising tactic in the history of the world. Sprint owns up to stealing him by using a similar punch line he had with Verizon.   

You can hear Paul at the end of the commercial saying “Can you hear that?”

Many people have been making a big deal about the switch, calling Paul a sell out and a traitor. But let’s get real here, why did he do this? Why does anyone do anything?  The money obviously.

Any person, if offered enough money, would do anything, especially if it involved being on television.   

The perfect example is former NFL quarterback Joe Namath. Joe Namath is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history and undisputedly the broest bro. I mean, the man went on national television, in which he was being honored, extremely intoxicated and preceded to hit on the reporter.   

Anyway, back to the advertising thing.  Joe Namath, in his prime, was a gorgeous specimen and was wanted by many companies to be their spokesperson.   

One of Namath’s most notable commercials was for pantyhose. The commercial featured the professional quarterback sporting the pantyhose and looking good in them.   

Namath proudly went on television wearing pantyhose and encouraged women saying “If they make my legs look this good, imagine what they can do to yours.”

Why would Joe Namath do this? For all that money. Also, I’m sure he had fun wearing those around too.   

In the end, people are looking to make the most money they can out of life.  Whether it’s sporting some ladies clothing or just changing who you endorse, it’s all about raking in that cash.   

So the next time anyone calls Paul a traitor or says that he broke their heart, just tell them to put a sock in it. Any person would’ve done the same thing if it meant making money.

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