Amazon Sponsors Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey was one of the most-watched shows on UK TV for ABC1 adults and 60% of its fans were already Amazon shoppers. By leveraging the equity of the show’s much-loved characters, and tapping into the brand affinity of its viewers, Amazon created a series of :05, :10 and :15 second vignettes to bring the product benefits to life by featuring actors in organic situations using Amazon Devices (in 2014) and Amazon Prime (in 2015) on the Downton set.

For Christmas 2014, the objectives were:

  1. Drive cut-through of Amazon’s e-reader and tablet in Q4 to sit alongside the brand’s other focuses, the launch of the Amazon smartphone and Fire TV.
  2. Grow top of mind awareness for the Kindle Fire tablet.
  3. Find a property we could partner with and sponsor.

For Christmas 2015, the objectives shifted slightly from focusing on Amazon devices to:

  1. Drive awareness of the brand’s overall retail offer with a focus on Amazon Prime.
  2. Continue to utilise the sponsorship.

Keeping 2014’s objectives in mind, we wanted to show an older ABC1 audience that a Kindle could be their trusty companion and secret escape. We turned to another escape; the period drama, placing the Kindle at the heart of a show that was a book adaptation and one had captured the nation’s hearts.

With a shift in objectives for 2015 the previous idents were re-shot and replaced with Amazon Prime versions, still with the period drama theme, filmed on location. The executions highlighted Amazon Prime’s next day delivery service and communicated that the service extends to a huge variety of products across a range of categories, again the perfect concept during the festive season.

It’s fair to say we smashed our objectives and for half the costs per year for the equivalent number of TVR’s in standard airtime. The efficiency of the sponsorship in 2014 helped maximize Amazon’s ROI - lifting specific image statements for Kindle in terms of “reading in the dark” (+15%) and “enhancing a child’s interest in reading” (+14%) – both prominent messages in the idents (source: ITV research). 2015 saw an uplift in consideration and purchase intent for Amazon Prime, suggesting that the sponsorship had a positive impact on those exposed to it.

Series 5 (2014) averaged at 10.1m individuals across each of the nine episodes resulting in 52% ABC1 adult 1+ cover, whilst series 6 (2015) also had an average of 10.1m viewers - this meant that almost 50% of the people saw the spectacular idents.

Here's a video of all the idents in full: