- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Shatner’s Negotiator resurfaces for Priceline
Seven months after a commercial showed the Negotiator plunging off a cliff and into apparent oblivion, the company is resurrecting him in a new 30-second TV and online spot set to debut Thursday.
A clever parody of a world-weary spy vanishing to start a new life, the commercial opens with Mr. Shatner standing on a beach, gazing somberly at the ocean. A company man (actor Allan Louis) approaches him.
“You’ve been busy for a dead man,” he tells Mr. Shatner. “After you jumped ship in Bangkok, I thought I’d lost you.”
“Surfing is my life now,” replies Mr. Shatner, who is dressed formally in a business suit, shirt and tie. But his pants legs are rolled up, and he has a surfboard tucked under his arm.
The Negotiator, ignoring entreaties to resume work, neatly manages a Priceline plug (“even faster, easier ways to save money” on travel) before dashing toward the Malibu waves.
Turns out Priceline just couldn’t do without him.
“We had such a positive response to the ad where we appeared to throw him over a cliff that we wanted to find a creative way to bring him back,” said Brett Keller, chief marketing officer for Priceline.com.
When last seen, the Negotiator was rescuing vacationers from a bus teetering on a bridge’s railing. “Save yourselves — some money,” he said, handing off his cellphone as he and the bus tumbled into a dry creek bed. An explosion followed.
When the spot first aired in January, the company didn’t know if or how the Negotiator would return, and neither did Mr. Shatner, Mr. Keller said.
The new ad from the agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners doesn’t address how the Negotiator survived, but Mr. Shatner, 81, offers his preferred fantasy: “A beautiful girl gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”
Whatever it took, the new ad reverses a flawed decision to throw the Negotiator under the bus, according to Mr. Shatner. He’s played the pitchman for six years and has done Priceline spots for about 14 in all.
“I knew it was a mistake, absolutely,” he said.
Agreed, said Peter Sealey, an adjunct professor at the Claremont Graduate University’s school of management and the former marketing head for the Coca-Cola Co.
Mr. Sealey had granted Priceline leeway when it gave the Negotiator the heave-ho. He reasoned that the company was changing its business model from “a name-your-price model to a fixed-price approach,” and the pitchman seemed to speak to the past.
In retrospect, Mr. Sealey said, “You don’t give up equity like Priceline had in Mr. Shatner. It’s like Aflac giving up the duck or Progressive [insurance] giving up Flo,” he said. Mr. Shatner’s return “won’t correct a bad earnings report, but it is the right move.”
On Aug. 8, Priceline.com Inc.’s stock fell more than $100, about 17 percent, after the company warned investors that its third-quarter revenue and income would come in far below analysts’ forecasts because of the deepening malaise in Europe, a burden shared by other companies.
Another blow came Monday: Shares of Priceline and other online travel companies fell after Google announced the acquisition of the Frommer’s brand of travel guides, beefing up Google’s array of travel search and review assets.
Cue Mr. Shatner, who as the valiant Capt. James T. Kirk of the “Star Trek” TV and movie franchise knows what it’s like to play the hero. Nothing wrong with doing so in a commercial, he said.
“There’s a certain pride in making a character in advertising a popular character,” he said. “You could look at it as an achievement.”
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- UNICEF launches 'Mr. Poo' mascot in India to curb public defecation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.