William Shatner, whose celebrity endorsement of priceline.com is credited with sparking
a trend in the dot-com world, has renewed his agreement to be the public
face of the name-your-price company.
The two-year deal includes a broadening of Shatner’s spokesperson role, in
which he’ll appear in television commercials. Until now, the actor, most
famous for his role as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, has done radio and print
ads for priceline.com. He has appeared recently in television commercials for newly-launched grocery services, run by priceline.com spin-off WebHouseClub.com.
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“William Shatner has played an important role in catapulting priceline.com
to national prominence and he will continue to contribute significantly as
we build out our brand,” says Daniel Schulman, priceline.com’s president
“Bill Shatner’s recognition and appeal span generations and
geography. His association with futuristic things makes him well-qualified
to talk about how priceline.com is reinventing the way people can save
money by naming their own price for goods and services.”
Priceline.com attributes much of its growth and brand recognition to the
association with Shatner. The company says that it was selling just over
1,500 leisure airline tickets per week in May of 1998.
Today, the service
sells over 50,000 tickets a week, accounting for approximately two percent
of all the leisure airline tickets sold in the US.
The success of the Shatner-priceline.com alliance has inspired a wave of
followers. Whoopi Goldberg now hawks Flooz.com, and Rodney Dangerfield
represents BargainBid.com. Former
“Six Million Dollar Man” Lee Majors promotes Kozmo.com.
“Two years ago, conventional wisdom was not in favor of celebrity
endorsements for Internet products,” says Priceline.com’s founder and vice
chairman, Jay Walker.
“Internet companies were supposed to focus their
advertising online through banner ads and portal deals. Priceline.com
believed that the right star power concentrated in more traditional radio
and print advertising would effectively reach both Netizens and
non-Internet users alike.”