Sprint's newest ads feature a familiar face—and the company is hoping that consumers hear what he's saying loud and clear. "Hey, I'm Paul, and I used to ask, 'If you could hear me now with Verizon?' Not anymore," former pitchman Paul Marcarelli says in the 30-second spot that aired Sunday during the NBA Finals for his new employer, USA Today reports. Sprint, which has been languishing in last place in the wireless-carrier arena behind Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, is now touting what it says is its much-improved service—it claims it's within 1% of Verizon's reliability and about half the cost of the other three providers—and Marcarelli, who Recode notes stopped shilling for Verizon in 2011 after nearly a decade, is an important part of the new campaign.
"I think a lot of people are going to recognize Paul and see [him] in a [Sprint-colored] yellow tee … and ask themselves, 'What happened?'" Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure tells USA Today, adding that the company just had the first quarter in which it squashed both Verizon and AT&T in gaining new customers. Marcarelli's final dig as the ad wraps: "So I switched to Sprint and millions more have, too. Can you hear that?" (Things got heated on Twitter last year between the CEOs of Sprint and T-Mobile.)