The Sopranos takeaway

The Sopranos caused a furore with its finale. There are lessons to be learned here

Everyone’s still banging on about The Sopranos finale, and I must say I’m finding the ‘furore’ about how the final-ever-episode ‘cheated’ its fans both laughable and a bit pathetic. I think I might be the only person in the whole world to say this, but I thought it was perfect (and let me be clear, I wasn’t all over some of the previous series, so I’m not just being a total fangirl). I watched with sweaty palms, one eye on the clock at all times, counting down the minutes til it was over, with my heart in my mouth, terrified/convinced that Tony was going to eat it. Turned out all he ate was an onion ring. And that final, dramatic fade-to-black? Perfect. (And for all the people who “thought their cable went out” – oh puh-lease.) But now everyone’s all aggrieved that creator David Chase (who’s gone to France and isn’t talking to the press) phoned in the finale and everyone’s over-thinking the whole thing wildly.

But… there are lessons to be learned here.

Seth Godin, for instance, makes a good point, warning of the perils of overpromising and under-delivering -- building up hype without following through with the goods. That’s a completely valid idea, but I honestly think that had The Sopranos gone out with the apparently required big bang and main character massacre, it’d have been much less satisfying in the long run. The equivalent of a fast food meal – that fills you up but leaves you hungry at the end of the day. Allowing The Sopranos to drift gently into the abyss of distant memory is, I think, perfectly appropriate (although nothing will beat the finale of Six Feet Under for perfect resolution -- but they obviously weren't even considering the possibility of heading to Hollywood).

Marketers and innovators alike would do well to remember that really, the “big event” is not what anything is about any more. Think about it. Innovation in any field shouldn’t, can’t be about the big “wham bam” moment but about the entire world in which that innovation exists. It’s about creating relationships, and you can see from the frenzy surrounding Sunday’s finale, that’s exactly what the fans had with the Sopranos.