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For Sale: Downton Abbey Wine
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s true; there will be Downton Abbey wine so every viewer can sip along while watching one of their favorite TV series. It seems a bit ridiculous, but it actually also makes sense. There really isn’t a whole lot a TV series can do to market itself except when extending outside the TV screen. So that leads to product, whether it’s board/computer games, books, exclusive extras, and now wine. The ability to create more product allows the Downton Abbey brand to potentially receive additional success. And it’s not just money but engagement. TV series have a finite window of when they run, so anything that keeps the show top-of-mind during the off-season is always a plus. And hey, it doesn’t hurt that the product happens to be wine.

The jury is still out on whether this whole TV series wine thing is even a good idea. On paper it seems smart, but realistically it seems a bit too much. Can’t the show be successful with its core product without having to produce wine to gain additional success? The answer must be “no,” because wine is being made and sold to promote Downton Abbey. At least the product makes sense. Watching episodes of the show, viewers are consistently seeing the characters enjoy glasses of wine and there are numerous conversations around types of wine, wine glasses, and who’s going to choose the right wine for dinner. So if Downton Abbey had to choose a product to sell, this is definitely a good one.

Now instead of wine, imagine a calendar. Yes, a Downton Abbey calendar. If that’s the conversation that was happening, the strategy would be an epic fail. Sure, people would buy the calendar, but it wouldn’t equate to truly extending the brand and creating success. It would just be calendars sold here and there. And that’s the point; when creating brand extensions and promotional products, companies need to understand what customers think. What do they think is a natural extension of the brand? What would be interesting and unique, yet still deliver a message about the core brand? If there is an opportunity to extend a brand, it needs to be relevant to the initial product and interesting to the customer. Downton Abbey and wine are a great pairing and the customer gets it without needing much explanation. Whether it’s successful or not...well, only time and sips will tell.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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