HBO Saluted The Sopranos by Giving Out Mob Nicknames to Celebs and Brands

Real-time Twitter stunt is just what the 20th anniversary needed

There's been a lot of adoring media attention around the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos. On Thursday—the actual anniversary of the first episode's premiere—HBO joined the celebrations with an irresistible Twitter game where they handed out Sopranos nicknames to celebrities, journalists, brands and other high-profile figures who asked for them.

With help from agency Engine Content, the network asked for people's first names, then put together mobster-sounding monikers for them. It quickly caught fire, with lots of actors and brands requesting their own throughout the day and into the evening. 

It was a simple and fun premise, with minimal production hurdles, and was paid off nicely in punchline after punchline. It also worked so well because so much of the Sopranos coverage this week has been reverential—putting the show on a pedestal. By contrast, this was just silly fun—a tribute that didn't take itself seriously, and thus brought the hallowed program back down to earth in a lively, participatory way. 

It also had the real-time response element, of course, a stripped-down version of what Old Spice memorably did in video years ago, which is always exciting (and surely a little nerve-wracking for those in the war room). 

You'll notice, too, that there wasn't a clunky hashtag like #SopranosNicknames cluttering things up. Tony wouldn't approve of that kind of bullshit.

Check out some of the nicknames below, with the brand examples first.

HBO also gave nicknames to other TV shows, both on its own network and beyond. 

And here are some of the celebs, and notably several TV critics, who also got a shout-out. Oh, and Jack Dorsey as well. 

As part of the day's festivities, HBO also sent platters of baked ziti to friends of the show and the network. Also a nice touch. 

UPDATE: And now, the game has come to an end—in a way that Sopranos fans will love (in a hateful kind of way).

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of Clio Awards.