You may have caught wind over the weekend that Sprint is now using the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” pitchman from more than a decade ago. It’s true, Paul Marcarelli, his real name, recently made his debut in a couple of Sprint commercials, noting that he’s “with Sprint now,” ending one commercial with a witty “Can you hear that?” remark.
Well, yeah, Verizon heard it loud and clear, and it offered up a mighty burn for Sprint with its response. “They’re using our 2002 pitchman because they’re finally catching up to our 2002 network,” Verizon told CNET. Ouch, someone grab the aloe.
Sprint’s ads are clever, though. The carrier recently fell to fourth place behind T-Mobile among the big four U.S. wireless carriers and it needs to get customers back. Suggesting to customers that a very familiar pitchman has moved from Verizon over to its network might actually help the carrier improve its branding. Or it might continue to backfire.
Check out the ads below.