William Shatner marks his ten years of advertising work with travel agency, Priceline, with a new campaign released this last week. The new campaign provides a slight twist in that Shatner plays the role of Priceline’s cheif negotiating officer. 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.
Click on the image below to play the Negotiator video in YouTube
Shatner first started working with Priceline in 1997 to promote the “Name Your Own Price” travel service, launching the first TV ad in April 1998. “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.”
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.
Nalts provides some very pertinent observations at Will Video For Food, pointing out that Priceline, as an online company, should provide a much more effective access to its advertising videos.
The Priceline Negotiator campaign was developed at Butler Shine Stern & Partners by creative directors John Butler and Mike Shine, associate creative director Steve Mapp, art director Justin Bucktrout and Will Dean, copywriters Bill Dow and Lyle Yetman, and designer Tom Yaniv.
“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 Mike 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.”