TV

The Verizon Guy Basically Just Pulled A Benedict Arnold

In the long history of betrayals, none will stand out like the Verizon Guy jumping ship to aid a rival company in selling their wares to the public. Sprint has poached Paul from Verizon, now using him to sell Sprint’s 1 percent difference from their competitors. Something this hurtful hasn’t happened sine the Pets.com dog started selling life insurance after the dot com bubble burst.

You might also remember Paul as the “can you hear me now?” guy, traversing the globe to show off Verizon’s superiority in signal. He was street smart and wise, but clearly it all went to his head. He’s a commodity to be traded around phone companies like a cheap high-school girlfriend. Meet my dad, mom and dad. Her name is Paul.

It could be worse. He’s not exactly on the level of the Where’s The Beef lady from Wendy’s or the dozens of Colonel Sanders clones that are terrorizing the countryside. Paul has likely been under the radar a bit lately, and it appears to be for good reason, according to The Atlantic:

After nine years in the role, Marcarelli was informed last September, via email, that Verizon was taking its ads in a different direction. He’ll still do some work for the company, but, as Marcarelli puts it, “I’m no longer committed to them like I was.”

That commitment entailed a strange combination of ubiquity and anonymity. Among other things, his initial five-year contract had prohibited him from doing any other commercial work and stipulated that he not discuss any aspect of the Test Man campaign, including the particulars of his contract. (He is still reluctant to go into detail, since he remains under contract with the company.) A 2003 article in Ad Age—titled “Verizon Keeps ‘Test Man’ on Short Leash”—noted that the cellular firm “adamantly maintains … that the actor who plays [Test Man] should certainly not be ‘heard.’” (Indeed, Verizon had declined to verify Marcarelli’s identity even after Ad Age revealed it, in 2002.) The contract was amended in 2006 to include language articulating Marcarelli’s right to promote his own projects, but he still felt hemmed in by the need to protect the character—and with it, his income.

Well that’s actually a bit more clear now, isn’t it. Paul Marcarelli did claim that some of his silence was “self-imposed” and decided to come out as homosexual once his contract was up. Now he’s back, doing what he did best before. And also hopefully working on his own projects, like his film The Green. He wins in the end.

(Via The Atlantic)

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