In case you were wondering, that is Mario Lopez pitching AT&T Prepaid at Walmart stores.
The actor, known* for his role as TV host extraordinaire and on hotel TVs everywhere, is featured in signs and in a video on AT&T Prepaid’s website, as well as in Walmart stores.
AT&T confirmed to Fierce that it’s working with the well-known TV personality and fitness guru for what appears to be a limited time.
“We are working with Mario Lopez for the holiday season to promote AT&T Prepaid,” the company said via email. His appearance in ads can be seen here.
Other prepaid brands have enlisted well-known personalities to help sell their products and services. Currently, Ryan Reynolds not only endorses Mint Mobile, an MVNO that uses T-Mobile’s network, but often cites his ownership in the company. He’s also done some entertaining cross-marketing for his “Free Guy” movie with the brand, which, Wave7 reports, is now selling phones in stores as well as SIM cards.
Verizon’s Visible brand has been known to use actor Kevin Bacon in its marketing, although it’s been a while, noted Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, which spotted the Lopez displays in stores earlier this month.
“To me, it’s interesting that AT&T Prepaid would have a spokesman at all,” Moore told Fierce. “They haven’t been out there in front, so it’s interesting that AT&T Prepaid is using a well-known celebrity spokesman to try to build the brand.”
It also dispels any notion that AT&T might be opting to ditch its AT&T Prepaid brand in favor of a Cricket-only focus, he said, adding the AT&T Prepaid brand is alive and well.
Speaking of Cricket Wireless, Wave7 analysts also noticed some changes afoot in retail stores – a Cricket 2.0 push, if you will, that’s been described in this LinkedIn post. (AT&T's prepaid brands include both AT&T Prepaid and Cricket.)
Indeed, Cricket is introducing new store design elements, but it’s only for its new stores going forward, according to an AT&T spokesperson. The company worked with one of its authorized retailers, Optimal Wireless, in Las Vegas to demonstrate what it calls “the next evolution in our retail innovation.”
With the store update, it’s improved the customer experience in a number of ways, including a more efficient, tablet-based way for customers to manage their Cricket interactions, including paying their bills in-store, purchasing devices and accessories and managing their monthly rate plans.
Last year, AT&T completed a big change in its Cricket retail store strategy in that it eliminated corporate-owned stores in favor of dealer-only locations.
*He was also in “Saved by the Bell," for those keeping track.