Priceline Kills Off The Negotiator

January 20, 2012

 

After a 14 year run, Priceline is dropping William Shatner as the face of its company.

Citing the need for an advertising change to reflect the company’s broader strategy, Priceline reports that Shatner’s popular Negotiator character will be killed off in the company’s next ad, set to air this Monday (but already up on YouTube). The new 30-second TV spot for the travel site features the Priceline Negotiator rescuing panicked vacationers from a bus hanging on the railing of a bridge.

“Save yourselves – some money,” he declares, handing his cellphone to a passenger as he and the bus fall off the bridge, resulting in a fiery explosion.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the CEO of Priceline.com North America hinted that a Shatner-less campaign, which is “really over the top,” may debut as part of the upcoming Super Bowl.

After edging out Bill Cosby for the gig, Shatner has been pitching Priceline for more than 14 years, five of which have been as the popular Negotiator. He agreed to the partnership in 1998 for nothing more than stock in the company. Estimates about how much that stock eventually earned Shatner vary widely.

This is not the first time Shatner has been replaced by Priceline. Back in 2004, Shatner was humorously “replaced” by his “Star Trek” co-star, Leonard Nimoy (better known as Spock). The plot of the campaign centered on Shatner being replaced by Nimoy because Priceline was going in a new direction, as the “new Priceline.” How forward-thinking of them…

Here’s one of Shatner’s first ads with Priceline: