Back in 1999, a creative director at DDB, Chicago, saw a spec reel from a young filmmaker doing a piece of unique sketch comedy about male bonding. The short film by Charles Stone III and his friends was called "Whassup." DDB slapped some Budweiser into the scenario, and it became a Cannes Grand Prix winner, not to mention one of the best beer campaigns ever.
The truth is, advertising agencies are all the time borrowing from the culture. That's how Bob & Ray became the Piels Brothers in the 60s, how Max Headroom became a Diet Coke character in the 80s, how the obscure urban-acrobatics sport called parkour keeps popping up now. What YouTube does, though, is vastly simplify the discovery process.
Creative teams can troll for ideas simply by typing in keywords – not to mention just keeping an eye on the videos that percolate up organically to the most-viewed lists. With or with intermediaries like XLNTads.com, YouTube is a virtual open-mike night for every blocked creative team with a broadband connection.
Look, for instance, this video.
Now look at this commercialfor McDonald's: