An Advertising Age article tells us that Jeff Chester, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Digital Democracy, wants to get the Federal Trade Commission to look into the phenomena of viral advertising videos.
"That's one of my goals, to push [the FTC] to look at the entire infrastructure in terms of [ad] targeting and the stealth nature of broadband marketing which includes the delivery of viral videos."
In the same article, Jamie Tedford, senior VP-marketing and media innovation at Arnold says that he watched the "Tea Partay" video four times before it dawned on him that it really was an ad for Smirnoff. (Badland sidnote it feels a lot like Dynamite Hack - Boys in the Hood)
One creative executive said marketers were well aware of that cloak of anonymity. "Yes, we've had that assignment where clients don't want to be right out front as the sponsor or have their name associated with it, and have told us to make it look like something that 'got out.' ... Our clients are wholly embracing it because they don't necessarily have to go through 'brand watch' people, [and] its trackable -- you know when half a million people have seen it."
So should a commercial be labelled "advertisement" no matter where they run - be it youtube or heavy.com? This might be good news for youtube, who can then charge the brands for running their ads. Youtube is a media channel, after all.