William Shatner Takes Center Stage In New Priceline Negotiator Advertising Campaign
In 1997, priceline.com first contacted Mr. Shatner about representing its new and then-unproven Name Your Own Price® travel service. “We were looking for a figure who was trustworthy, known for having futuristic ideas, and instantly identifiable across multiple generations,” said priceline.com’s Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller. “Bill met those criteria. The match was so successful that we believe our partnership is one of the longest-running company/celebrity relationships in advertising history.”
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The relationship has certainly been a winning one for all involved. Priceline.com introduced its first ad campaign in April 1998 and, by year end, priceline.com was one of the best-known brands in the online space. Priceline.com quickly became a leading online travel service, with gross bookings growing from $40 million in 1998 to over $3 billion in 2006.
While priceline.com’s gross bookings continued to grow, so did the savings for its customers. To date, priceline.com customers have saved over $6 billion on their travel purchases. Recently, priceline.com expanded to Europe, where it operates one of the leading online hotel reservation services in 40 countries in 12 languages and offers its customers in Europe and the U.S. access to approximately 25,000 participating European hotels.
The priceline.com campaigns provided Mr. Shatner with a forum to showcase his comedic talents. Priceline.com’s Troubadour campaign, featuring a singing William Shatner, was so popular that it was spoofed by Jay Leno, parodied on Saturday Night Live, lampooned in MAD Magazine, and even featured as a question on Jeopardy and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. “Those references were high tribute, because they clearly demonstrated that we had cut through with the brand message and embedded it into pop culture,” said Mr. Shatner.
“Most celebrity spokesperson campaigns are short-lived, either because the celebrity has lost audience appeal or the ad treatment has gotten stale,” said Mike Shine, Co-Creative Director of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP), priceline.com’s advertising agency. “Neither has occurred here. Bill’s popularity is growing and priceline.com continues to find fresh ways to present its message.”
The Negotiator campaign represents another groundbreaking step for priceline.com. In past campaigns, Mr. Shatner has appeared as himself in a supporting role to the priceline.com brand. In the new campaign, he plays the role of priceline.com’s tough chief negotiating officer, taking viewers behind the scenes to see the unique ways in which priceline.com negotiates the best possible deals on behalf of its customers and going to extremes to help customers find the deals that are right for them. His commitment is reflected in the campaign’s tagline - No One Deals Like We Do. “As the relentless and effective Priceline Negotiator, Bill embodies everything we do at priceline.com to find our customers the best possible travel deals and provide them with more ways to save than any other major online travel service,” said Keller.
“We took our inspiration for The Priceline Negotiator character and the stylistic elements of the campaign from the classic spy genre of the 1960s – films like the original Bond movies and Our Man Flint, and TV shows like The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” said Shine. “The Negotiator is cool, in-control and obviously well-traveled, but willing to go to any length to get a fellow traveler a great deal.”
Each spot opens with a frantic telephone call to The Negotiator in his secret lair. A consumer needs him to intervene and secure a great travel deal. Of course, The Negotiator can’t refuse. With an arsenal of tricks, tools and charm, The Negotiator speeds to the scene and nails down the deal. “The campaign presents priceline.com’s core brand assets in a breakthrough, culturally relevant way that will extend beyond traditional advertising to foster a deeper level of engagement with consumers,” said Cort Cunningham, priceline.com’s Director of Advertising & Brand Development.
To see all of priceline.com’s new travel services, visit:
About Priceline.com® Incorporated | Priceline.com Incorporated (Nasdaq: PCLN) operates priceline.com, a leading U.S. online travel service for value-conscious leisure travelers, and Priceline Europe, a leading European online hotel reservation service.
In the U.S., priceline.com gives customers more ways to save on their airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises than any other Internet travel service. In addition to getting all the best published prices, leisure travelers can narrow their searches using priceline.com’s TripFilter™ advanced search technology, create packages to save even more money, and take advantage of priceline.com’s famous Name-Your-Own-Price® service, which can deliver the lowest prices available.
Priceline Europe operates one of Europe’s fastest growing hotel reservation services through its Booking.com network of hotel reservation services, Activehotels.com and priceline.co.uk. Priceline Europe operates in 40 countries in 12 languages and offers its customers in Europe and the U.S. access to approximately 25,000 participating European hotels.
Priceline.com also operates the following travel websites: Travelweb.com, Lowestfare.com, RentalCars.com and BreezeNet.com. Priceline.com also has a personal finance service that offers home mortgages, refinancing and home equity loans through an independent licensee. Priceline.com licenses its business model to independent licensees, including priceline mortgage and certain international licensees.
About Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners | BSSP is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Sausalito, CA. The agency provides services in advertising, online, design and brand consulting through its four divisions, Butler Shine & Stern, SF Interactive, GARGANTUA and Influx Strategic Consulting. One of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast, BSSP is recognized for its ability to provide highly creative, fully accountable marketing solutions to a broad array of marketers including priceline.com, MINI Cooper, Converse, LucasArts, Diageo Chateau & Estates, Sun Microsystems, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences, VeriSign and Nike.