Grip wins AOR assignment with Priceline

With a mandate from the discount travel website, the Dentsu agency welcomes its first major U.S. opportunity.

Grip Limited has picked up its first significant cross-border assignment with the winning of an AOR mandate for American discount travel rates website Priceline.

The Toronto agency, owned by the Dentsu Aegis Network, has previously worked on AB InBev’s Stella Artois business in the U.S. But the Priceline win represents its first significant foray into the U.S. market, says Dave Chiavegato, creative partner at Grip.

The agency replaces BBDO New York, which has held the Priceline business since 2015.

Chiavegato says the assignment originated with Andrew Sneyd, VP of brand marketing at Priceline, inviting Grip to pitch for the business alongside three other agencies based in the U.S. Grip had worked with Sneyd, a former marketing director at Labatt Breweries in Toronto, on Kokanee’s “Ranger” advertising before moving into a global role at AB InBev in the U.S. and landing at Priceline a few years ago.

Chiavegato believes the win could open up new opportunities south of the border, thanks in part to the backing of the larger Dentsu network, but the agency isn’t making a concerted effort to expand. “If you do great work, the clients will come.”

The first work to come out of the partnership is a spot featuring actress Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory, who has long been a brand ambassador, and others will be unveiled in the coming months. While the Priceline website is geared towards consumers in the U.S., the company does have a Canadian office in Winnipeg.

Priceline provided Grip with a detailed brief, making it less incumbent on the agency to find strategic insights that would resonate in the American market, says Chiavegato. Moreover, the concept is based on the “universal insight” that travel can have a meaningful impact on a person’s life, whether you’re Canadian or American.

The campaign includes the Grip-led tagline “Every trip is a big deal,” representing both the value Priceline customers receive and the personal impacts of travel. “Some competitors focus on the dream vacation, others may focus on that trip of a lifetime,” Chiavegato says. “Priceline is more about a lifetime of trips.”

Priceline worked with U.S.-based Ocean Media on media.