Skift Take

Priceline wants to get into your social feed, and it's using humor to ease its way in.

Last week rolled out a new series of television commercials that have, at least temporarily, spelled the death of William Shatner’s Negotiator character.

The Negotiator is being replaced with “Whatever’s on the line, Priceline,” a campaign that focuses on smart decisions that can save consumers money, as well as help them avoid the bad things that can happen if they don’t choose to travel, such as adopting a grown child, having a romantic relationship with a cousin, or taking advice from Latrell Sprewell. [See the ads here.]

In addition to the commercials made for television, released more than two dozen digital shorts on its YouTube channel that spelled out similar dangers, albeit in a different way. In the clips, fake news anchors broadcast stories about people who didn’t take trips because they assumed some element of them — airfare, car rentals, or hotel rates — would be too expensive, and then suffered unintended consequences.

The clips will be pushed on Facebook as contextual ads in users’ feeds. Brett Keller, Chief Operating Officer at, tells Skift, “For example, one of your Facebook friends changes her status to engaged, Facebook knows to serve you the wedding video. Or you and your friends fall in a certain demo, Facebook serves you a video about taking a girl’s weekend trip or traveling for a job interview.”

For Priceline, the campaign is about bet that mobile and video will work for it on Facebook’s platform, and it’s the first time has used Facebook’s mobile targeting to execute a national brand campaign. “Facebook brings tremendous scale in mobile,” Keller says.

Priceline would not reveal its spend for the Facebook campaign.

The tone and approach of the digital shorts leans heavily on the earnestly delivered fake news that The Onion has long practiced. “Humor has always been an integral part of’s brand voice,” Keller says.

Two examples of the ads are below.


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Tags:, priceline

Photo credit: A still from's Facebook video advertising series. Priceline

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