The headline made me think about the way Paul Marcarelli, the 30-something actor from New York City who plays the lead role in the Verizon Wireless “Can you hear me now?” advertisements, might one day be remembered by historians.
You see, Marcarelli is fast becoming an iconic advertising figure for a company whose products are suspected of causing cancer in the people who use them. If, God forbid, he ever finds himself in a life-and-death battle with brain cancer, people will undoubtedly compare him to Wayne McLaren and David McLean, the actors who appeared in Marlboro Man advertisements 50 years ago. Both died of lung cancer, presumably due to the harmful effects of tobacco.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not hoping that Marcarelli will face such a crisis. If, however, he does, most will be quick to blame his brain cancer on cell phone usage — whether or not he ever used a cell phone in real life.
Here’s to hoping and praying that the scientists who study cell phone radiation are wrong when they draw connections between handset radiation and cancer. Marcarelli deserves his place in the museum of advertising icons for better reasons.