Toronto burger joint’s Allen Iverson parody a social hit

Restaurant owner talks about napkin shortage in low budget YouTube video

Toronto burger chain The Burger’s Priest is going viral in a big way with “The Burger’s Priest blows up on food blogger Allen Iverson style,” — YouTube video that spoofs retired NBA all-star Allen Iverson’s legendary “Practice” tirade.

Since being posted on Dec. 11, the video has garnered more than 65,000 views on YouTube, been mentioned in the Washington Post, and led TSN to declare, “This might be the best video of the year.”

Shot in less than three hours for $189, the spot mocks a 2002 press conference in which Iverson responds to allegations that he routinely skipped practice. The rambling, and at times nonsensical video, sees Iverson repeat the word “practice” more than 20 times in just over two minutes.

“But we talkin’ bout practice man.  We not even talkin’ bout the game, the actual game, when it matters.  We talkin’ bout practice,” says Iverson in the video, which has racked up more than seven million YouTube views.

In “The Burger’s Priest blows up on food blogger Allen Iverson style,” the word “practice” is replaced with “napkin” and sees Burger’s Priest founder Shant Mardirosian respond to a fictional food blogger’s complaint about too few napkins included with his burger.

“I’m one of the top burger joints in Toronto and we’re sitting here talking about napkins. I mean, listen. We’re talking about napkins man. Not a burger. Not a burger. Not a burger. We’re talking about napkins, man,” rants Mardirosian.

“On the internet, there’s just so many asinine complaints about tiny little things that I just tried to think of the craziest one, and made a video about it,” Mardirosian told Marketing.“And it fit in so well with the original Allen Iverson rant, so that’s why we did it.”

Though Iverson’s “Practice” video is dated, Mardirosian said he believed people would find it entertaining regardless of familiarity with the original, and that his target market, comprised of 22-35 year-old males, would respond the best.

“We live in a time right now where everything old is new, and I think it was classic enough to be able to bring it back in a fresh way. I knew that a lot of people would appreciate it, especially in my demos. I thought the video was funny enough to also stand on its own, that it wouldn’t matter, and people could actually learn about [the Iverson video] later on.”

The Burger’s Priest worked with its PR agency Deck to launch the video, and is promoting it via its social channels. The video was produced by Toronto-based shop Argyle Media Group.

Mardirosian said he hasn’t advertised since launching Burger’s Priest in 2010 and is shocked by the response the video is getting.

“I was expecting this to be a local, kind of fun gag. I never expected this.”

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