More Than Meets the Eye
On YouTube, you may not realize you've clicked a commercial until it's played completely through - and maybe not even then. A few stealth ads leaving vapor trails:
"World's Worst Plane Landing"
It looks like found footage - shaky, cell-phone-type camera work of a commercial jetliner coming in for a rocky landing. Then comes the voice of the pilot, presumably over a radio, indicating the plane carries a visiting soccer team coming to challenge the Dutch. That's when the logo for Heineken appears. This video (along with copies of it bearing slightly different titles) pops up in any search for bad plane landings.
"Car Sucks Girl"
Again, it seems homemade at first. A man sets up a camera and films himself, then directs a girl in a bikini to pose in front of his car. He revs the engine, and she suddenly gets cartoonishy sucked into a large air intake mounted on the hood, and then ... there's the url for a company that tracks viral advertising. Admittedly, it does have the disturbing sensibility of a true viral.
An action movie boiled down to the car chase. You could watch this and all seven sequels without knowing they're ads, until you notice that the BMW always wins. In 2001 and 2002, the car company had A-list directors such as John Woo make a series of films starring Clive Owen, each no more than nine minutes long. The videos don't appear on BMW's Web page anymore. But they still float online - free advertising forever.