The American home of Downton Abbey is getting a new sponsor in the form of Ralph Lauren, which has signed on to become a national corporate sponsor for PBS’s legendary drama anthology, Masterpiece, which has so far won six Emmy Awards for Outstanding Costumes during the course of its 41-year run on public television.
The move marks the first television sponsorship for the American design firm, and it’s no coincidence that Ralph Lauren would choose to be associated with Masterpiece, given the influence that shows like Downton Abbey played on the design icon’s fall collection, which gorgeously evokes the atmosphere and style of the drama’s WWI-set second season, combining a modern sensibility with an elegant timelessness. In the past, Lauren has cited the Julian Fellowes–created drama as a muse.
“We are proud to be associated with Masterpiece and public television,” David Lauren, executive vice president of advertising, marketing, and corporate communication for Ralph Lauren Corp., said in a statement. “This is a great partnership with a brand that represents the same commitment to quality and excellence as Ralph Lauren.”
Ralph Lauren’s first on-air sponsorship messages for Masterpiece will begin Sept. 30, with the launch of Season 2 of Upstairs Downstairs. The company will join current Masterpiece sponsor Viking River Cruises as corporate underwriters, while funding is also provided by public-television viewers and contributors to the Masterpiece Trust.
“To have Ralph Lauren choose Masterpiece as their first TV sponsorship is an incredible tribute to our series,” said Masterpiece's executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “Their support will help us maintain the standard of excellence that drew them to Masterpiece in the first place."
Downton Abbey has received 16 Emmy Awards nominations this year, including one for Outstanding Costumes for its second season. No word, however, on whether the cast will be wearing Ralph Lauren for the awards ceremony.