The Last O.G. has been on it’s A-game since day one with the premiere marking TBS’ biggest comedy premiere since 2015. Since then it’s kept its roll going as 2018’s #1 show among all cable comedies this year and reached a multiplatform audience of nearly 25 million viewers. ICYMI, we said ALL of cable.

Just in time for the season one finale of The Last O.G. (airing Tuesday, June 5, at 10:30 p.m. ET), the Turner Blog interviewed Turner veteran Gabby Ballard, senior marketing manager-TBS Brand Marketing, who leads the team responsible for bringing viewers to this mega-hit show. Her team and the entire brand marketing group are the hub that brings everyone together for one common goal: promote the heck out of their original series. Mission accomplished.

Gabby Ballard, senior marketing manager – TBS Brand Marketing

When asked if she was surprised at the immediate success of The Last O.G., Gabby pointed to the all-star cast of Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish and Cedric the Entertainer, among others, as the reason why they knew they had a hit on their hands before an episode even aired. “This talent has incredible and faithful fandom that we were able to tap into, as well as everyone was cheering for Tracy’s comeback story,” said Gabby.

She also credits major cross-collaboration amongst the TBS and Turner teams. “We were able to have fun with the creative, such as establishing an amazing in-character social media voice, as well as creating content that was humorous as well as insightful, and create a hosted programming stunt.”

Additionally, one of the groundbreaking marketing strateg­­ies for helping the show stay on top of the ratings mountain and entice viewers was to leverage Turner's other great influential platforms to promote the show and make the biggest impact possible. “We kicked the campaign off with All-Star Weekend in partnership with TNT, then on to the NCAA Final Four on TBS, and finally the NCAA Championship Game,” said Gabby.

“This is the biggest charitable marketing campaign for a scripted series we’ve ever done.”

The show deals with some very timely and tough topics like gentrification and re-entering society after serving time. Similarly, the marketing needed to be culturally relevant with nearly every facet of the campaign having an element of social responsibility and giving back linked to it. Gabby was eager to point out many examples.

  • As part of the TBS sponsored New York Comedy Festival, Tracy and Cedric the Entertainer hosted “A Toast to the O.G.’s of Comedy,” a night of stand-up alongside an array of young comedians, as well as a sit-down conversation with the comics whom they have inspired. The event proceeds (over $14,000) benefited the Fortune Society, a charity that supports successful re-entry from incarceration.
  • Greyston Bakery, the largest social enterprise dedicated to open hiring practices, partnered with the The Last O.G. to release a custom O.G. Fudge Brownie. The O.G. Brownie was in stores for a limited time in 50 locations and 6 cities nationwide.
  • Tracy Morgan returned to his hometown, Brooklyn, N.Y., to dedicate a newly refurbished basketball court to the community. In partnership with TBS, the basketball court at the famous Marcy Playground now includes new asphalt, fresh backboards and a millennial pink, O.G.-inspired mural from artist ASKEW ONE. Over 800 people attended the dedication/block party which included a DJ, stunt dunkers, lots of family activities and local vendors.

“A key theme of The Last O.G. is second chances and the organizations we partnered with are doing just that – giving people and places a second chance.”

As Gabby so eloquently put it, “Through the themes of ‘The Last O.G.,’ I think it's beautiful to be able to give back and have people benefit from art. You know what I mean?” Yes Gabby, we totally get it.

Finally, Gabby was asked to give us some insider info of what’s coming up for season two. Surely, she had some juicy info just for us…

Her response: “A real O.G. never snitches, but we will have some amazing guest stars and the show will continue the great, unique brand of humor that it’s established.”

Well played Gabby, well played.

Don’t forget to tune in to the season one finale of The Last O.G. on Tuesday, June 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.