During the first phase of the campaign, Rogers & Cowan overcame the initial resistance by the news media in covering a story with commercial overtones by emphasizing the entertainment value of Shatner as a performer. Journalists initially were wary of reporting on a story that might be construed as an endorsement of the Priceline.com campaign. However, Rogers & Cowan provided the results of scientifically-conducted surveys that documented the popularity of the commercials among the public, which paved the way for editorial coverage by both business and consumer press. During the second phase, Rogers & Cowan experienced a challenge in trying to book Mr. Shatner with additional television appearances, including VH-1, MTV and Larry King Live. Mr. Shatner was concerned of overexposure in advance of his next feature film, Miss Congeniality, so he declined many of those secured press opportunities. In addition, Mr. Shatner was only contracted with Priceline to provide a total of 40 hours of media relations in Phase 2 of the campaign, much of which was used during the second New York junket.
When Priceline.com launched its “Name-Your-Own-Price” service in 1998, the company was selling just over 1,500 leisure airline tickets per week. But once Mr. Shatner came on board as the brand’s spokesperson, Priceline.com immediately began to see a steady increase in purchases made on their site. By December 1999, Priceline.com had seen their ticket sales bump up to 50,000 tickets a week, accounting for approximately 2% of all leisure airline tickets sold in the United States. Priceline.com attributed those incredible increases to Mr. Shatner’s radio spots. His recognition and appeal span generations and geography and his association with futuristic things made him an ideal spokesperson for the brand. Due to the success of the Shatner radio spots, Priceline.com decided to create a series of television commercials featuring Mr. Shatner.
- Build brand awareness and increase the market status of Priceline.com, positioning the company as the premier e-commerce destination on the Internet, offering members unparalleled service and savings on a variety of consumer goods.
- Create national awareness for Priceline.com’s new advertising campaigns by aggressively seeking opportunities for media exposure in the entertainment, consumer, business and technology press.
- Sustain the interest level for the advertising campaigns through highly creative and impactful media activities over the life of the campaigns.
- Garner media attention and build consumer awareness for the Priceline.com website to increase traffic and sales.