BBDO Just Won Priceline. Will Shatner Remain Onboard?

Travel site changes shops for first time in a decade

Priceline.com, after working with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners for nearly a decade, has chosen BBDO New York as its newest creative agency.

BBDO will handle all of the client's television, digital and social campaigns moving forward, but the future status of the brand's iconic "Negotiator," played by William Shatner, remains unclear.

The booking company's campaigns have long been defined by Shatner's character, and Priceline recently launched several new products like Express Deals and Tonight-Only Deals to better compete with its rivals in the crowded digital travel search space. In choosing a new shop to lead its marketing efforts, Priceline.com looks to expand both its audience and its existing relationships with hotel, rental car and airline brands in the interest of offering more comprehensive deals to its customers.

Chief marketing officer Brett Keller told Adweek that Priceline "chose BBDO because of its proven ability to develop strategic platforms and outstanding creative that deliver measurable results," adding, "We believe that this partnership will allow us to accelerate our integrated marketing efforts and maximize growth." 

The win caps a streak of sorts for the Omnicom shop, which has already added Toys "R" Us, Bacardi, Subway and insurance giant Humana to its client roster this year. These wins mitigate, to some degree, the pain of losing Bud Light, which moved its U.S. business to Wieden + Kennedy in July along with that of parent company AB InBev's Corona brand.

Regarding the win, BBDO New York president and CEO John Osborn said: "Great creative can be a great economic multiplier. We are looking forward to building a great campaign, a great business and a great partnership with Priceline.com."

The brand announced a creative review in early July, and BBDO beat out six other agencies to win the business. The first round of the review included Grey New York, Droga5, The Martin Agency, Arnold Worldwide, Venables Bell & Partners, and Leo Burnett while the final round came down to BBDO, Martin, Venables and Arnold's Boston office.

Priceline.com will introduce a new marketing campaign in 2016. At the moment, BBDO cannot comment on the nature of the work to come or the question of whether Shatner and Kelly Cuoco-Sweeting will reprise their roles as the client's spokespeople.

Kantar Media estimates that Priceline.com spends $40 million on media annually; the review did not affect the client's relationship with its media agency Ocean Media.