Tesco has tied up a shrewd deal with ITV to become the latest sponsor of the popular Edwardian drama Downton Abbey.

Britain’s biggest grocer announced on Friday (August 16, 2013) that it’s ‘Finest’ range – which consists of over 1,400 productions – would sponsor Downton Abbey for the new season.

According to Reuters, Tesco posted a drop in quarterly underlying sales in Britain, raising doubts about its $1 billion turnaround plan despite a host of new initiatives. However, with ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Waitrose performing strongly, Tesco has decided the time is right to sign a heavyweight TV deal.

The Downton Abbey ads will begin in October and runs across broadcast, mobile and online platforms.

“Downton Abbey is a great brand fit for Tesco Finest,” said David Wood, Tesco's UK marketing director – and it’s hard to disagree. People who watch Downton Abbey like paying that little bit extra for a bit of quality in their quick and easy dinners. They don’t want to go out to a restaurant, they want to watch Downton Abbey with a spaghetti Bolognese and a glass of red wine. There – we just did the marketing director’s job, and for free.

The historical drama remains a force in British television, with the third season of the show drawing 12 million viewers and a 40 per cent share of the audience. It featured the car crash that killed Dan Stevens' character Matthew Crawley.

Last month, Marks & Spencer launched a Downton Abbey range of toiletries, sold in traditional post-Edwardian packaging. Which is ridiculous. 

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