We May Have Heard the Last of Verizon's 'Can You Hear Me Now' The Atlantic

Verizon Wireless has informed the actor who plays the "Can you hear me now?" spokesman that it plans to take its ads in a different direction, reports

Paul Marcarelli, the actor who has appeared in hundreds of the company's commercials since November 2001, said he was informed last September via email that Verizon Wireless planned to go in a different direction, the story says.

Marcarelli said the job led to awkward moments, such as when he attended his grandmother's funeral a few months ago and as her body was being lowered into the ground, he heard a family friend say quietly, "Can you hear me now?"

But the demise of the ad character, called the Test Man, may be exaggerated, according to Advertising Age.

The story notes that Verizon Wireless still has a contractual relationship with Marcarelli. The Test Man hasn't been seen for years, the story adds, except for one recent spot, when Verizon brought the Test Man back onto TV to tout it service with the introduction of the iPhone 4, the story says.