Priceline.com has decided to milk the last dregs from an increasingly portly franchise by roasting spokesman William Shatner in a fiery death.
Shatner has milked many iconic roles, not least Captain James Tiberius Kirk, singer, sanitized Twitter soap star, and the best-forgotten TJ Hooker, but his regular appearances as Priceline.com’s spokesman has been his longest continuous gig - and possibly most lucrative.
For 14 years he has touted the discount booking site as “The Negotiator,” and reports suggest he has made many millions out of stock in the company by getting paid in shares, rather than cash, when the company started. Priceline.com shares are currently at $518 on NASDAQ.
"We felt it was necessary to go to extremes to grab the attention of every consumer in America,” said Priceline.com’s marketing officer Brett Keller in a statement. “We know that The Negotiator has a lot of fans, and we hope that everyone understands this was something that just had to be done."
In an ending reminiscent of the British classic The Italian Job Shatner’s final advert sees him shepherding people off a bus hanging over the edge of a cliff before seemingly sacrificing himself for the sake of a good deal. The company has hinted that there will be further adverts, as the franchise is stretched to its salable limits.
As Shatner himself might say – “It was fun, oh my.” ®