Downton Abbey Begins Mass Merchandising

What can you do, if you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, if you just can’t make it until the new season starts in January 2014 in the States?

Well, you could watch reruns. You could also buy the DVD set and watch those too. You could even go to England to visit Highclere Castle, the gorgeous location where the hit TV show is filmed. Afterwards, you could go to the gift shop to purchase any number of goodies – everything from clotted cream in specialty Highclere Castle gift boxes, to scented soaps, to unusual cufflinks portraying the castle, which cost a mere 15 British Pounds – about $23.

But let’s not stop there. In fact, the producers and investors behind the show are just now starting to take advantage of the show’s wild popularity, by coming out with a wealth of products that feature housewares, clothing, a board game, and wine.

Wow. It’s about time. As a Boston marketing expert and Boston publicist, I’m actually quite shocked that the program has taken this long to capitalize on Downton’s amazing success. Here in the States, it’s standard practice to have new products rolled out with a huge merchandising program in place. Until now, the most that fans could procure were wall calendars, DVD sets and desk diaries.

The Downton Abbey program makers are poised to cash in, and I’m sure audiences everywhere will thrill to the new products being introduced. In England, the Marks & Spencer stores will peddle a Downton line of beauty products featuring nail polish, lotion, soap and scented candles. Coming soon will be Downton Christmas ornaments. In addition, the London-based company that supplies the program with historically accurate paint hues, including the “Amber Gray” that is the color of the kitchen of the downstairs staff, also has just brought its wares to the marketplace. This is all smart marketing. Here, here!

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