display | more...
I have seen many a Priceline ad, and generally find them more annoying than intriguing (and I have never actually used Priceline for anything, nor do I suspect I'll have cause to). But this latest bit is by far the best that I've seen in terms of sheer amusement and salesmanship.

So it begins: William Shatner, the "Priceline Negotiator," approaches a hotel counter, manned by a short, mostly balding, middle-aged Asian man; the hotel is obviously not one of the big chain types, dimly lit and with the clerk backgrounded by a wall of little cubbyholes. Shatner informs this hotel employee that he's got someone who wishes to book a room for the night, and to pay $65 for it. The hotelier insists that they won't go lower than 130 -- prompting Shatner to intone with ominous portent: "Big Deal, persuade him."

And so the camera pans right and we are introduced to "Big Deal" -- a towering behemoth of a man, also Asian but seemingly stepped straight from a particularly pimped out Mongolian steppe, or perhaps a Samoan wrestling match. This guy runs about 6'5", and he is big.... round, in a beefy quarter-ton of ass-kicking kind of way. His hair is long and falls about his shoulders, draping the white fur coat that he wears (told you, pimpin', yo); he is topped by a black bowler hat like the kind Oddjob wore in Goldfinger. His movements are marked by puffs of low brass instruments -- trombones? trumpets? Who is to say, but he cracks his thick knuckles and leans forward, tatooed ham hock fists (the tats read "dollars" and "sense") with a thud eliciting the slightest creak from the counter.... now he is looking all set to kick some serious ass (and it is impossible at this point not to be reminded of the earlier Priceline commercial where Shatner's preternaturally tall companion No Fee drops and breaks random low value objects to make the point that those prices are worth saving through negotiating).

And then, Big Deal speaks, and in a low but surprisingly erudite voice intones: "Is it wise to allow a perishable item to spoil?" Shatner chimes in, "why leave a room empty?" Big Deal continues: "The additional revenue easily covers operating costs." And you can't help thinking, yeah it will, I mean how much does it cost to let someone use a hotel room? $20 for maid-service time, stem to stern? A few dollars more for administrating check-in/check-out? A bar of soap? Tag in Shatner for the killing blow: "65 Dollars is better than no dollars."

And the clerk is persuaded -- $65, he agrees, for the night. Prompting Shatner's closing observation: "You can't argue with a Big Deal." And so the commercial succeeds (as entertainment, if not in compelling my business) -- why? Because it first throws you for a loop; and then it strikes true.

Available on YouTube here.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.