Priceline is taking a big risk by killing off William Shatner’s “Negotiator” character, according to E-Poll Market Research, the company that tracks the popularity of celebrity pitchmen and brand icons. Shatner is as closely associated with the Priceline brand as the concept of “travel” is, its data says.
Priceline will get rid of Shatner — by blowing him up in a bus that plunges off the side of a bridge — on TV tonight, to draw people’s attention to the site move from a bid-based travel booking site to a fixed price model.
E-Poll asked its survey participants, “What is the first thought that comes to mind when you see the name of this brand?”
The results — which show that an almost equal number of people cite “Shatner” as they do “travel” — speak for themselves:
Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller told Dow Jones:
“We felt it was necessary to go to extremes to grab the attention of every consumer in America and drive home the message that you don’t have to negotiate to save money on a hotel at priceline.com … We hope that everyone understands this was something that just had to be done.”