As of Thursday, the video had racked up more than 1.3 million YouTube views since being posted on Monday. It has also been featured on the Huffington Post and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“People love it. I can’t believe it,” Zargarian said from inside his small shop as he checked the latest view count on YouTube. “Oh my God. That’s amazing, right?”
A few weeks ago, Link Neal and Rhett McLaughlin noticed the signage outside Arlen’s Transmission, which features Zargarian — half of him clad in a fancy suit, holding a microphone, the other half in a mechanic’s jumpsuit holding car-repair tools.
The duo was sold.
They offered to produce the commercial for free, convinced of its potential to go viral.
“I said, ‘OK, if you want to make it,’” Zargarian recalled.
After 17 years producing music and hosting a satellite talk show on which he interviews Persian and Armenian personalities, never has his work reached such a wide audience, he said.
But Zargarian said he didn’t do the commercial to generate more business.
“If I work too much I lose the body, if I don’t work too much I lose the money — it’s better I lose the money than the body,” he said.
At the same time, he’s thrilled with the attention.
“I spent a lot of time for this entertainment,” he said. “It looks like I didn’t waste my time. I’m so happy about that.”
On Thursday morning, Zargarian’s iPhone was ringing constantly as customers and friends called with congratulations.
Neal wasn’t surprised by the video’s popularity. Going viral on YouTube — where more views equals more ad revenue for content generators — is the point.
“They say truth is stranger than fiction. When we find that, it’s just presenting the truth in the way that’s stranger than fiction,” Neal said. “A 60-second musical ad featuring a mechanic? Well, OK, I think we’ve got it.”
Think your mom-and-pop fits the bill for a local commercial? Rhett and Link are always taking suggestions at email@example.com.
Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.