William Shatner’s time as Priceline spokesman is ending. They’re killing him off. But what if you followed William Shatner into Priceline’s stock? What if you bought Priceline (PCLN) when he became the pitchman for the stock and started appearing in all those commercials for the company.
The final Shatner Priceline commercial:
OK, so this one has a big if, as in if you missed the dot-com boom and bust, when Priceline launched to nearly $1000 a share and then collapsed down to around $10 a share. But if you had bought the stock when it collapsed, say late 2000 for $10 a share, you would now be up over 5000%. Yes, 5000%. Talk about a whopper of a trade.
In many ways though it’s really an interesting stock buying proposition. What if you see a company hire a pitchman that you know is just the right fit – that will make the company pop. Think Michael Jordan and Nike. The jury’s still out as far as how Alec Baldwin is doing as spokesman for Capital One. Or, what if you see a company with an ad campaign that just works. Apple is a master at ad campaigns for example. Is that some confirmation that it’s time to buy the stock. Sure, the company must have a good underlying product, but sometimes an ad or a pitchman can send the stock soaring. What company is terrible at ads and spokesman, Microsoft.
What’s even more interesting though is what if you bought shares of Priceline for around $70 a share when Shatner’s “Negotiator” ad campaigns started in 2007 for Priceline. Yes, that’s still a whopper of a trade when you see the stock trading for over $500 a share today.
It has been said that Shatner agreed to be the spokesman for Priceline for free in exchange for stock. It’s also been said that Shatner sold much of the stock just before it collapsed in the dot-com bust, some saying he made as much as $600 million on the sale. Not sure how he was paid in the ensuing years as spokesman for Priceline, although I’m sure he’s done well. I’m going to bet Shatner’s a good negotiator.