‘Stranger Things’ Kid to Pitch Fios During Emmy Commercial

Gaten Matarazzo, the cute kid from Emmy nominated Stranger Things, will be appearing during Monday’s Primetime Emmy Awards show in a new commercial for Verizon.


Not coincidentally, the commercial highlights the awards that have been won by Verizon’s FiOS fiber optic broadband network.

Matarazzo’s co-star in the spot is Rohan Arnett, a real-life technician for Fios. The child actor plays a big fan of Fios, its technician and the recognition the service has gotten.

Fios has won a number of awards, including being No. 1 in J.D. Powers’ consumer satisfaction survey among internet providers. “This is a way we can get the point across without bragging about it,” said Jeff Dietel, VP of marketing for Verizon’s consumer markets business division.

Related: Verizon Will Lift Broadband Speed Restrictions in Emergencies

Having the new spot debut during the Emmys broadcast made sense. “We think it’s a great place to do it given the fact that we’re talking about all of our awards, what better program to put it on first,” he said.

A number of advertisers are expected to debut fresh commercials during the Emmy broadcast on NBC.

Matarazzo started as a spokesman last year explaining why the Fios “100% fiber-optic Network is 100% Phenomenal.” The new spot expands the campaign, Dietel said.

“Gaten comes off as the neighborhood kid that is in everyone’s neighborhood that is fun and approachable and understands how technology works,” he said. “He explains why the 100% fiber-optic network is something everyone needs if they want to bring the tech in their home alive.”

Verizon’s data showed that the young actor had the ability to cut through the clutter and competing claims in the broadband market. “By all the metrics that we follow, we’re getting very solid brand attribution and he’s doing a good job for us,” Dietel said. ”He boils what is an otherwise complex message down in a very simple way.”

In the new ad Matarazzo is paired with Arnett, who has been with Verizon for 20 years.

Verizon found Arnett after putting out a casting call to all of its 20,000 field technicians. Supervisors narrowed down the field and a few were put in front of camera to read lines.

“Rohan came to the top,” Dietel said. “From our perspective, when you have Verizon employees that have been doing it as long as he has, and are as passionate about what they do, it makes it easy.”

The fact that Verizon’s technicians are full-time employees of the company, rather than third-party contractors, is an advantage for Verizon, Dietel said. Using a real technician in the ad drives home that message and tells employees how much the company values their work, he added.

After the Emmys the spot will be in heavy rotation on TV during the fall, with appearances in high profile sporting events including NFL games, during baseball games during the pennant race and the World Series.

Verizon, among the biggest television advertisers, declined to say how much it is spending on this campaign.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.