More reports on: Sprint, Telecom, Advertising / branding

Verizon brand ambassador defects to rival Sprint

07 June 2016

Actor Paul Marcarelli, who for a decade pushed Verizon's network quality in ads, has become rival Sprint's newest pitchman.

Actor Paul Marcarelli"I've watched with fascination as each of the wireless carriers claims to be the most reliable or the fastest," he said in a statement. "But what I've found is...the 'better' that some other national carriers claim about reliability is really only a 1 per cent difference."

According to commentators, Verizon's move enlisting Marcarelli, who helped build Verizon's reputation for a superior network in ads between 2002 and 2011, marked Sprint's increasingly aggressive bid to win consumers. 

The fourth-biggest carrier in the US, had also undercut the competition with discount phone plans and invested in improving its network faster.

Marcarelli's first commercial aired yesterday during game two of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sprint would also run more print, broadcast and online ads in the following weeks.

In trying to convince consumers that the Sprint network was competitive enough to merit a second look, CEO Marcelo Claure said he wanted to get someone synonymous with network quality. Marcarelli's long stint as the face of Verizon gave him extra credibility, Claure added.
"I used to ask if you 'can hear me now' with Verizon. Not anymore," Marcarelli says in his first Sprint commercial. "I'm with Sprint now, because guess what? It's 2016 and every network is great. In fact Sprint's reliability is now within 1 per cent of Verizon and Sprint saves you 50 per cent over Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile's rates."

"Can you hear that?" Marcarelli adds.

Marcarelli is now a Sprint customer, though, as one might suspect, he was first approached by Sprint. Marcarelli's contract with Verizon was over, and Sprint asked Marcarelli to try out its network, CEO Marcelo Claure said.

"He liked it, so we decided to do a campaign," Claure told CNNMoney. "We figured Paul would be the best person to tell everyone all networks are the same, but only Sprint can give you 50 per cent off. He was pretty excited."

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