Priceline “Department of Negotiation”

Priceline and ad agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners wisely continue their campaign featuring veteran actor and comedian William Shatner as "The Negotiator" in this new spot, set at headquarter of the "Department of Negotiation." The set-up in a fake government department was never very original to begin with, but client and agency must have been kicking themselves when, during the Super Bowl, HomeAway aired its ad set in the "Ministry of Detourism." For two companies competing over still-rare vacation-spending dollars, both with a message that is fundamentally about cutting the cost of travel, running ads with such similar story lines is unfortunate. On balance, however, sticking with Shatner is a good call. Certainly, very few actors could deliver a reference to "highly advanced thingamajigs and whatchamacallits" with such offhand dryness, and only Shatner could make the punch-line reference to a wrestler in a guerrilla suit work as well as it does. So, we'll remember the ad, and what it is for, but will this really get you on the phone negotiating rates with your next hotel? -Mike Chapman