Instead of coming up with a character concept first, Verizon decided to use Marcarelli exactly the way he came -- with his retro hair and his Buddy Holly glasses. That means that unlike a sports mascot or theme park character, Marcarelli couldn't take off his costume when he went home, because he was the costume.
Via Paul Keleher.
Like being glued inside of this 24/7.
That means for the better part of a decade (the contract was renewed), he didn't just play the part of the Verizon Test Guy (the character's official name). He lived, ate and breathed the Verizon Test Guy. Verizon wouldn't even release his name to the public, not even admitting it after a news article printed it, afraid it would break the illusion.
Before the contract, Marcarelli was a hipsterish starving actor sharing an apartment with his actor friends and putting on little-known plays that nobody wanted to see. His first thought when he landed the Verizon job was Think of all the plays we can put on!"
Via David Svensson, Lunds nya Studentteater.
Probably really artsy ones.
Instead, he spent family weddings feeling like an asshole when everyone wanted to take pictures with him instead of focusing on the bride. He was harassed by drunk frat boys driving by his house and shouting, "Can you hear me now?" and later, "Faggot!" (Because he is gay, if you haven't figured it out.) He called the cops and then called them off when he realized that filing a report would make it public and there might be a media to-do about the Verizon guy being gay. He was afraid he'd lose his job.
Now that his contract is winding down, he's switched to wire-rimmed glasses, is writing and producing a film, and is basically allowed to be Paul Marcarelli again.
That's the good thing about Mario, the gecko and the bunny, I guess. Nobody's ever going to thwart their ambitions or scream at their house or start rumors that they're dead. If you're a living human being, though, this might be one "lucky break" you don't want to stumble into.
Be sure to check out The 7 Most Terrifying Corporate Mascots of All-Time. And get more from Christina in 6 Secret Monopolies You Didn't Know Run the World.