UPDATE December 4, 2010 - I've been contacted via Twitter by people who created the Purell video including producer / director Stephen Reedy. It turns out they do not have anything to do with the company. I'm attempting to learn more.
UPDATE December 5, 2010 - I've traded email with Stephen Reedy and he shared the following (which I edited from a longer communication):
Purell did not ask us to do the spot. We (Zerofriends) love Purell and we want it to succeed (which is why we chose it over PINE SOL or CLOROX) but they had nothing to do with this.
We’ve made many spots of various types for various clients choosing (as often as possible) storytelling over traditional direct messaging.
So, in the end of it all, this NASA / Purell thing was one big publicity stunt to get people to look at us up-and-comers and our creative ninjitsu so we can make a living doing more of it for others. Just like how traditional advertising is deflected and ignored by the over-stimulated masses, traditional ways of getting into the minds and hearts of employment authority is REALLY, CRUSHINGLY ineffective.
I don’t know if this type of advertising-inside-advertising has a name, but “Trojan Horse Tomfoolery” might be a good title (The phrase “INCEPTION” was already taken).
Stephen - I think this approach is excellent. I hear you about trying to get through gatekeepers in a clever way. I do that myself sometimes. For example, to reach speakers bureaus (who book people like me to speak at events) I wrote this post knowing that the bureaus would notice it via Google alerts: Ranking Speakers Bureau websites: The good, bad, and ugly
I'd recommend that in future, you have some kind of notice either at the end of the video or in the text of the YouTube listing. The notice should say who you are and why you created the video. Keep up the good work and let me know if the Purell people respond.
Specifically, researchers discovered that bacteria can survive in space which makes it more likely that life exists on other planets. Here's the NASA news release. When I checked, there are more than 1,000 mainstream media stories on this just 24 hours after the announcement.
Real-Time from Purell
Very quickly, Purell Brand Instant Hand Sanitizer had this fun video up on YouTube. Love how the product name has the word “instant” in it and they do real-time market engagement.