Historical drama meets modern technology in a series of idents to promote Amazon's $12 million U.K. sponsorship of Downton Abbey. In a series of 16 brief films seen only in the U.K., actors in full period costume are shown using Kindles (above) or Fire tablets while they wait behind the scenes for the cameras to roll.
The work, by Joint London, is the first for Amazon by a U.K. agency, and features the same glossy, high production values and even the same Emmy-winning costume designer as the Downton Abbey series itself, but stops short of using the same actors. In a nod to English weather, some of the actors are bundled up in heavy parkas over their 1920s costumes.
Damon Collins, Joint London founder, told Creativity, "For actors, filming can be a right bore. People used to sit around with a newspaper or a book -- now people email or watch films as well as reading. Our idea was to show that truth." The team created all 16 idents in two days, working with both a real film crew and a mock film crew.
Amazon is now promoting the Kindle and the Fire tablets as two different brands; the separate set of idents for each are running on alternate weeks in order to help create a distinct identity for each device. The Kindle idents started appearing on air last month; the Fire idents have just been added.
Meanwhile, NBC Universal has created a "Downtonisms" app, featuring more than 160 memorable lines from the series. It includes gems like "Vulgarity is no substitute for wit" from Violet, the Dowager Countess, as well as a quiz to match "Downtonisms" to the characters who said them.