HBO series in retail rodeo

HBO may have whacked the “The Sopranos” way back in June 2007, but as a retailing platform, the gangster skein isn’t sleeping with the fishes yet.

Far from it.

On Nov. 11, the cabler released a $399, 33-disc DVD retrospective. A day later, co-star Tony Sirico unveiled Paolo, a cologne inspired by his “Sopranos” alter ego, Paulie Walnuts, at the Perfumers Choice Awards in New York. Then, on Nov. 18, Sirico and a gaggle of the show’s fictional goombahs enlivened a launch party for “The Sopranos” wines, with a tasting and musical perf by Dominic “Uncle Junior” Chianese

The brand’s enduring appeal is no surprise, says Marty Brochstein, senior VP of industry relations and information at the Intl. Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. “There are some entertainment entities that just become part of the vernacular,” he says.  

As for longevity, Brochstein has two words: “Star Wars.”

“There was 16 years between movies,” he recalls. “And that was still part of the licensing world because there was an audience that identified with it.”

And if wine and cologne seem a bit far afield and, well, tacky, he lays out the bigger synergistic picture: “It’s a way to have the brand show up in some unexpected places and focus attention on that nice DVD box and the syndicated episodes.” 

“Look,” he concludes, “You’re writing about it, right?”

Touche.

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