Nymphomaniac: A shameless example of thumbnail cheating


I was recently unfortunate enough to find myself on Mirror.co.uk watching the trailer for ‘Nymphomaniac’, the newly released film from Danish director Lars von Trier.

The film stars dough-faced mamma’s boy, and Indiana Jones home-wrecker, Shia LaBeouf, alongside Christian Slater and Uma Thurman. Is it a good film? Well, unfortunately I’ll never know, as I’ve vowed never to watch anything that openly attempts to build click-through rates through blatant false advertising.

I am of course referring to the increasingly mainstream practice of “thumbnail cheating”.

Essentially, thumbnail cheating refers to the use of exciting but unrelated thumbnails (usually of sexy ladies) to promote piss-poor content. That way idiots like me will click the image to find out more and help to boost the site’s ad revenues.

As an example, here’s the still-frame video thumbnail for the official Nymphomaniac trailer:

Thumbnail Jacking

And here’s what the actual video content looks like:

Nymphomaniac Trailer

Yes, that scene isn’t shown anywhere in the actual video. In fact, the entire trailer is pretty much just people sat at a desk.

Another example would be the very article you’re currently reading. Look at how saucy the thumbnail is I’ve chosen to set! It’s got virtually nothing to do with the actual content of this article!

 thumbnail cheating

Of course the saddest part of all this, is that by building up the viewers’ expectations with such saucy thumbnails, they’re just more likely to be disappointed when they do actually view the content. …A bit like you, reading this.

Alex Warren
Alex Warren
Miserablist, whiskey-drinker, and general tinpot shambles. Alex Warren has a weary pessimism for all things media, politics and tech.