Yes, William Shatner is nothing if not multifaceted and unpredictable. After the pinnacle accomplishment of his career — portraying Captain James Kirk on Star an unbelievable 40 years ago — when he could have become a footnote in the pop-culture past, who knew the Canadian-born actor would find a second career as a funnyman, and a spokesman, by appearing in commercials for a then up-and-coming dot-com, Priceline?
But that Shat did, and Priceline's subsequent success became the stuff of endorsement history. And now that Shatner's most recent attempt at "serious" acting, in last year's CBS comedy $#*! My Dad Says, is defunct, he's got to do something else with that outsized ego comic persona, right?
Well, how about promoting awareness of turkey-fryer fires for State Farm Insurance? That's right, after personally suffering from a turkey-fryer accident, the bombastic actor and pitch man has graciously lent his comic timing and faux gravitas to the insurer's efforts to stamp out this underappreciated form of holiday danger.
His two-commercial campaign is being promoted on Twitter with a hashtag, #ShatnerFryersClub, which encourages folks to pay attention (and have a Happy Shatsgiving). It's no joking matter, and if it gets people to pay attention, so much the better. State Farm cites grim stats, such as how Texas leads for reporting the most grease- and cooking-related claims around Thanksgiving over the previous five years.
Cue Shatner. "It started as a hunger," he intones in one of the spots. "I wanted a moister, tastier turkey." We hear about his own personal run-in with a turkey fryer, advice on how to avoid same, and an appeal to become a member of Shatner's "Fryers Club" by liking, commenting and sharing the videos on social media via the brand's YouTube channel.
The Shatner campaign is one in a series of recent efforts that has seen the down-home, Bloomington, Ill.-based insurer demonstrate comedic chops. Another one is an ad that runs heavily during NFL football telecasts featuring pitch man Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl MVP quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
However, "Only one person was truly capable of getting this important message across in a fun way," said David Beigie, State Farm Public Affairs Vice President, in a press release. "The fact that Mr. Shatner actually experienced a turkey fryer accident only brought more realism to his portrayal." Below, the positive reception to the campaign on Twitter includes this tweet from the National Fire Protection Association: