Priceline Drops William Shatner as Spokesperson; Actor Goes Out in 'Blaze of Glory'
The iconic "Star Trek" star was the face of the travel site for 14 years, but the company will shift its marketing direction in time to leverage the Super Bowl audience on Feb. 5.
In Star Trek: Generations, William Shatner's Captain Kirk got vaporized in space to make way for a new generation of space-traveling heroes. Now Priceline is retiring Shatner as a spokesman in a final commercial spot that sends him over a cliff in a spectacular explosion.
"I'm in grief mode," Shatner said about the new ad that features his character the Negotiator rescuing passengers on a runaway bus before the fictional accident. The commercial debuts Jan. 23, and the company hints that it will introduce a new spokesperson during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
"It was a great run," the iconic actor told the Associated Press. But "if the management says this is the end, this is the end."
Shatner has served as Priceline's spokesperson for 14 years, but CEO Christopher Soder said Priceline is pursuing a new advertising strategy. "The challenge is harder to get people's attention than it used to be. … So we decided to do something really over the top to get the message across."
Priceline is best known as a site where consumers can bid on airline tickets, hotel rooms and other travel services at discounted rates. But the company is looking to bolster its less visible division that sells discounted hotel rooms at a fixed price.
Still, don't cry for Shatner. It's been reported that the 80-year-old has made a considerable profit from stock options as the company's spokesperson. The actor, who has starred in such TV hits as Star Trek, T.J. Hooker and Boston Legal, will make his Broadway debut Feb. 14 in a one-man show titled Shatner's World: We Just Live in It.