Ralph Lauren will join Viking River Cruises in sponsoring PBS’s long-running “Masterpiece” series, which has been reinvigorated by the success of “Downton Abbey.”
Lauren’s relationship begins Sept. 30 and promises to include tailored spots for “Downton,” the British drama set in a country estate in the WW1 period, and other
Lauren replaces short-term sponsor Franklin Templeton. Each “Masterpiece” episode has 60 seconds of ad time, which will be split between Lauren and Viking. PBS doesn’t run ads within shows, but airs them before and after episodes.
The Lauren arrangement begins with “Upstairs Downstairs” in advance of the third season of “Downton” in early 2013. Viking recently re-upped through 2014 after signing on in late 2011.
The Emmy-winning “Downton,” which airs on commercial network ITV in the U.K., had 17 million viewers earlier this year during its run, PBS station WGBH said.
“Downton” is produced by an arm of NBCUniversal and distributed through WGBH in the U.S.
A statement released by WGBH said designer Ralph Lauren himself “has always had a true appreciation for the heritage and romance of England and reflects this through his fall 2012 collection.”
Viking has been linking its sponsorship with an offering that includes a tour of Highclere Castle. Its sponsorship also includes a presence on the “Masterpiece” Web site.