After nine years, Verizon is changing its advertising tactics, and pitchman Paul Marcarelli, the "Test Man" famous for the line, "Can you hear me now?" has been freed to move on.
"Don't feel bad for me, but I'm definitely glad that chapter is over," he told The Atlantic. While he made millions during that time, his contract kept him from pursuing some other projects of interest, and even inhibited him about talking much to the media.
Marcarelli made $3,000-$6,000 per commercial and he was contracted to appear in 20-40 spots per year, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The real money for gigs like these is in the residuals, which multiplies that amount exponentially. With extra fees earned from having his face appear on billboards, posters, magazines, newspapers, etc., plus personal appearances at Verizon sponsored events, the amount adds up. Assuming Marcarelli had a savvy agent, he likely made a fortune from uttering one line, five-words long, for nine long years.
Everywhere Marcarelli went, he was haunted by those words, even at his grandmother's funeral. Still, he was grateful for the financial security and opportunities the gig afforded him.
You can see how Marcarelli would be eager to move on. He was reportedly informed by e-mail that his Verizon days would be numbered. Now he is free to pursue other projects, such as writing and producing a film called 'The Green,' starring Jason Butler Harner, Julia Ormond and Illeana Douglas, about a gay couple in a small Connecticut town.
Marcarelli is gay, and while he felt obliged by his contract not to speak publicly about it, it was no secret to those who knew anything about him personally. In fact, he was the subject of gay bashing, as teenagers would drive by his home in Connecticut and shout "Can you hear me now?" followed by gay slurs, according to The Atlantic.
Prior to becoming Verizon's Test Man, Marcarelli had appeared in numerous commercials for products like Dasani, Heineken, Old Navy and Merrill Lynch. He'd also done voice work for Comedy Central, United Airlines and Aetna Insurance. It seems he'll have no trouble adjusting to life after Verizon.
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