SCMF Musings: The Big Switch – Test Man Now at Sprint…

Verizon test man now at Sprint

“Can you hear me now?”

We’ve written about spokesman “movement” before (i.e. Kevin Butler & Playstation, Bridgestone Tires, Boston Pizza, and the latest Burger King’s $1.49 chicken nuggets). But now this?

AdAge published a story titled: “Sprint’s New Pitchman Is Verizon’s ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ Guy: Paul Marcarelli Was Verizon’s Spokesman for Nearly a Decade”

Some may have seen the Sprint ad during the broadcast of the NBA Finals. The spot is appropriately named “Paul Switched” as actor Paul “Test Man” Marcarelli, appears as himself.

How’s that for a “Wait… What?” moment ?

Ad agency, Interpublic’s Deutsch, “got us” for sure as we stopped, hit the rewind, and then hopped onto a second screen for some research.

In the ad he introduces himself, and notes that he’s now a Sprint customer because Sprint’s “reliability is now within 1% of Verizon. And Sprint saves you 50% on most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rates.”

The fact that Paul is switching is funny and for sure, an attention getter. However, we’re not sure it’ll get traction because of Sprint’s reputation for having a… let’s just call it a “not-so-great” network. Perception is reality JUST like a spokesperson for Verizon who had the gig for 10-years (2001 to 2011) is still viewed as the Verizon Test Man.

Sprint One Percent claim

Anyway, we were amused at how the 1% number got highly touted in the AdAge piece:

We’ve made tremendous advancements in our network during the past year and Sprint’s network reliability is now within 1% difference of Verizon.” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint president and CEO, in a statement about the latest ad.

There’s even another ad dedicated to this 1% concept — claiming a study by Nielsen is where that number comes from (Can you hear that? #TheSwitchIsReal And Sprint is saving you 50% on most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rates. Don’t let a 1% difference cost you twice as much).

See it here:

The “1% is Real” Spot

AWSI, a “taste test” ( is in order. If Sprint REALLY wants to convince Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile customers to “switch,” they need to let them borrow a phone for 3 days to 5 days and try it in everyday scenarios to see if that 1% holds up.

Think of it this way… Hertz has a “Rent2Buy” program that’s pretty nifty.

Hertz Rent2Buy program

At Hertz Car Sales®, we believe that a 15-minute test drive is not the best way to evaluate used cars for sale. That’s why we created Hertz Rent2Buy®, the first car buying experience that literally lets you live with your purchase before you actually make it. Since you’re renting the car (for a mere $49* a day over 3 days, which gets waived if you purchase the car), you can do more than drive around the block and picture your life in the car – you can fully experience it.

Now if Sprint is so certain this will work, they can offer to waive or reduce that initial buy-in fee.

Sure they can require a credit card in case the phone doesn’t come back, but basically make the “rental” fee be like the amount of a monthly Netflix streaming ($8.99) or 3-days worth of Starbucks drinks (assume the classic $4 as in Fourbucks is in order) or the Dominos “Monday Thru Thursday Carryout Deal” price of $7.99 for a large 3-topping pizza. (cross promotion possibilities abound!).


But most of all— the focus is the try before you buy. See if that 1% truly stands up in everyday situations.

At least, that’s what we’re thinking.

Thanks for reading and as always #SCMF!

—The Gang

Bonus Content:

We’re glad to see Paul “Verizon Test Man” again. He and Kevin Butler (AKA Jerry Lambert) should compare notes some time.

As seen in NVC the 020716 Edition and NVC the 031316 Edition and in this spot here for Burger King.

So Jerry moved from Sony -to Bridgestone- to Boston Chicken to Burger King Chicken nuggets

And that got us pondering where The Most Interesting Man in the World will pop up.

Here’s a compilation of the Most Interesting Man’s “greatest hits.”

We’re feeling a luxury car ad, like a follow-on to Land Rover’s “Life’s a Jungle” spot.

Land Rover Life’s a Jungle

Range Rover Napkin

Additional Bonus Content:

Here are links to two pieces about Paul the Verizon Test Man.


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