After fourteen years as the Priceline Negotiator, William Shatner‘s character is going to perish in a heroic fashion.
A new thirty-second commercial will show the Negotiator saving vacationers from a bus that is about to go over the railing of a bridge.
“Save yourselves – some money,” he implores, giving his cellphone to one of the passengers to make that call to Priceline. The Negotiator and the bus then fall into a dry creek bed, and an explosion marks the end of the Negotiator.
“I’m in grief mode,” said Shatner. “”It’s not the first time I’ve had an iconic character die off.”
It’s also not the first time his character fell off of a bridge to his death.
The death of the Negotiator is part of the strategy to get the attention of TV viewers watching the Priceline ads. “The challenge is harder to get people’s attention than it used to be,” said Christopher Soder, Priceline CEO. “So we decided to do something really over the top to get the message across.
Priceline is changing their business model, moving from a “name-your-price” model to a fixed-price one. “Had [Shatner] been less effective [at promoting the ‘name-your-price’ model], he could have been allowed to fade away,” said Peter Sealey of Claremont Graduate University’s School of Management. “I don’t know if I would have gone as far as the bus exploding.”
“It was a great run,” said Shatner. But “if the management says ‘this is the end,’ this is the end.”
Shatner is still under contract with Priceline.