Shatner Back in Priceline TV Spots

Actor William Shatner will take to the television airwaves once more as pitchman for Priceline.com , as the e-commerce player unveils its first TV ads in more than a year.

So far during 2002, Shatner has starred only in radio ads for Norwalk, Conn.-based Priceline’s “name your own price” service. The company had previously declined to say whether it planned to launch TV ads using Shatner, who returned in February as the company’s celebrity spokesman.

Now, the new 30-second TV ads will continue the theme of the radio spots and show the actor talking about and interacting with the “Priceline Super Computer,” which is described as working tirelessly to find the best prices on hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and airline tickets.

Spending was not disclosed.

The ads also play on Shatner’s role as Captain Kirk on TV’s “Star Trek,” — and his often-hammy, over-the-top delivery — as well as other vintage 60s-era sci-fi classics.

In the spots, Shatner strolls around a command center reminiscent of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” while expounding on the power and cost-saving benefits of the Priceline Super Computer.

“It’s on,” he says in one spot. “The Priceline.com Super Computer is on. Crunching the numbers, working the angles, calculating, analyzing, processing. See what everyone else is claiming the best deals are for airfare, hotel rooms and rental cars. Then, let the ‘Name Your Own Price’ technology bag you the best price, yours.”

The spot concludes with the Computer — which sounds a bit like HAL from “2001” — intones the campaign’s tagline, “I think, therefore, I save.”

“William Shatner is one of those rare personalities who can communicate a message and give it real staying power, especially on a medium like national TV,” said Priceline.com Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller. “He’s a key reason why Priceline.com remains one of the best-known Internet brands and why people around the country know us for our great travel deals. Even as a pitchman, Bill is still an entertainer. We believe TV viewers will look forward to seeing these spots again and again.”

Priceline.com said it launched the ads, which were designed in-house, to drum up business in conjunction with a new sale promoting travel during the next two months, and in an early bid to reach consumers planning ahead for the holiday season.

Shatner first appeared on behalf of the site in a series of offbeat TV and radio spots in 1999. The campaign, dubbed “Troubadour,” drew on Shatner’s post-“Star Trek” stint as a spoken-word lounge act, and used the tagline, “Name your own price.”

A year later, Priceline spots featuring the voice of “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker, though the company returned to Shatner in early 2002 for the launch of the current campaign.

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