Priceline should pull Shatner ad: Bus industry

@CNNMoneyTech January 23, 2012: 4:12 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The American Bus Association is asking that Priceline pull an ad that shows its longtime spokesman William Shatner dying in a fiery bus explosion, saying that it believes the ad is in bad taste.

The ad, which started airing Monday, is an effort by the online travel service to drum up attention for its published-price offering, which is much less well known than its name-your-own-price service.

A company spokesman stressed that while they are killing off Shatner's "Priceline Negotiator" character, they still have the former "Star Trek" star under contact as a celebrity spokesman.

But while Priceline is happy with the spot and the buzz surrounding it, the trade group, which represents inter-city bus lines as well as charter bus services, is upset, saying it "damages the reputation of our industry."

Group spokesman Dan Ronan concedes that he doubts any potential customers will be afraid to take the bus after seeing the spot, but said "it portrays the industry in a bad light. We're protecting our brand and our reputation."

Neither Priceline (PCLN) nor Shatner had any immediate response to the group's objection.

The trade group also invited the 80-year old Shatner to ride a motorcoach and see how safe and comfortable they are. It pointed out that Shatner will be appearing next month in an autobiographical one-man show on Broadway, where a large proportion of customers travel by bus.

"In fact, it is estimated that nearly one third of theater tickets are purchased by group tour and motorcoach customers," said the group's statement. To top of page

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