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Watch the Onion attempt to make Sprint funny (funnier?)

Commentary: Welcome to an ad series in which Sprint attempts to play up its use of the former Verizon pitchman, Paul Marcarelli. And attempt to be funny.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Have you felt the effect? Neither have I.

Onion Labs/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Ever since Sprint hired Paul Marcarelli, the man who used to utter "Can you hear me now?" for Verizon over and over again, your life has likely been permanently altered.

You now realize that if he's been paid to switch to Sprint, you should too. Or, second best, just switch to Sprint without being paid ... even if the ads in which Marcarelli now appears are as memorable as the 47th date with someone whom you should never have dated at all.

Sprint has now embarked on an attempt to make Marcarelli's presence a little more emotionally involving. So it's teamed up with creators at Onion Labs -- yes, the same Onion that makes you laugh even more than the news -- to create a series of web ads in the format of TV news stories.

They purport to show that there's a real "Paul Effect" happening out there in America, one that you may not have noticed.

The ads vary from one that claims there's a movie being made about him to one in which his most die-hard fan claims that he does "dirty things like Paul would do."

There's even an ad in which the League of Dictionary Creators reveals that people are now using the word "Paul" in many new and creative ways. N0, "a-Pauled" isn't one of them.

Marcarelli himself appears in all six of the ads and mugs his way pleasantly through. And it's all relatively amusing if you decide to play along.

The problem is that this is Sprint, a brand that's struggled with its image for a long time. Seeming to be permanently stuck with that runt-of-the-carrier-litter feeling, it's trying to entice customers to its unlimited plan via price.

Will these ads vault Sprint to a new dimension? I fear the chances are Paultry.

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