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Verizon's 'Can You Hear Me Now' guy is Sprint's pitchman now

A new commercial debuts during tonight's NBA Finals game.


You may not recognize Paul Marcarelli's name, but you know his face. It looms into your vision every time you're on a cellphone call and you say, "Can you hear me now? Heh, I'm like that guy in the commercial."

But Marcarelli, who stopped doing ads for Verizon in 2011, has a new gig, working as a pitchman for rival Sprint, whose service he signed up for after he was approached by the company.

He spent nine years working for Verizon on the campaign, during which he was voted Most Mysterious Pitchman by Entertainment Weekly in 2002. The Atlantic caught up with him in 2011, when he revealed that he gave up his beloved Buddy Holly glasses frames to reduce the number of "can you hear me now"s he'd hear on a daily basis.

But he was also able to use the cash from the campaign to produce plays for his New York-based theater group, Mobius Group, as well as executive-producing documentaries and his own writing projects.

Sprint is debuting the new commercial during the NBA Finals; a statement from Sprint says it's the perfect time to scoop him up, as the wireless company now claims that its reliability is within 1 percent of that of Verizon and AT&T and leaves T-Mobile in the dust.

Of course, Sprint also says it offers service for half the price of rivals, a claim that recently got it in trouble.

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