Bait-and-switch Media refers to various trolling pictures and videos that trick a user into viewing unexpected content, usually through fake linking, misleading thumbnails or titles and other duping techniques. While the Rickroll is one of the oldest and most well-known examples, others can include more nefarious switches with links to sites that cause computer viruses, shock sites or other NSFW media, so long as the intention is to trick an unsuspecting user into viewing something unintended.
The name and original concept for bait-and-switch media online stem from the term "bait-and-switch," which originated as a form of fraud in retail sales and commercial culture. The oldest text mentioning the use of this technique comes from Zhang Yingyu's The Book of Swindles, released in 1617, a Chinese book of stories about fraud.
One of the earliest and most well-known examples of this technique being used online comes from the viral video "Ghost Car" that was released in 2005. In this commercial, viewers are shown a serene landscape with a car driving through rolling green hills when suddenly a monster appears and screams to shock viewers. The video was uploaded on July 30th, 2005, by YouTuber mrsmithereen and has since been viewed over 37.5 million times in roughly 15 and a half years (seen below).
Easily the most infamous bait-and-switch video, Rickrolling originated shortly after in 2006 and quickly became the most popularized method of duping people with the technique. YouTuber Erik Helwig, better known as Hot Dad, claimed to have prank called a Michigan radio station after a sports game and played "Never Gonna Give You Up" over the phone on August 31st, 2006. The story was explained in a YouTube video titled "I Did the First Rickroll (w/ Proof)" uploaded on August 7th, 2015 (shown below).
Rickrolling is a bait-and-switch prank that involves posting a hyperlink that is supposedly relevant to the topic at hand in an online discussion but redirects the viewer to the music video of "Never Gonna Give You Up," a 1987 dance-pop single by English singer-songwriter Rick Astley. Since May 2007, numerous versions of the music video on YouTube have garnered hundreds of millions, largely driven by the widespread practice of "rickrolling" and subsequent resurgence in popularity of the song over the following decade.
Trololo is a video of the nationally-honored Russian singer Eduard Khil (AKA Edward Khill, Edward Hill) performing the Soviet-era pop song "I am Glad, 'cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home" (Russian: Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой). The video is often used as a bait-and-switch prank, in similar vein to the practice of Rickrolling.
ManningFace refers to a photograph of National Football League quarterback Peyton Manning wearing a black hood while kneeling on a football field, which is often linked in comment threads on Reddit as a bait-and-switch joke similar to the practice of rickrolling.
Wood Sitting On a Bed, also known as Big Barry, is a photoshopped image of the deceased adult film star Wood sitting on the edge of a bed looking at the camera with his penis exposed. The image has been used in bait-and-switch pranks and has been circulating since 2012, often associated with the name Barry. The image saw a resurgence in 2020 in fake messages regarding news about the coronavirus outbreak. The news site Vice later identified the man as Wardy Joubert III, who died of a heart attack on December 11th, 2016 at the age of 45.
Get Stick Bugged Lol refers to a series of bait-and-switch videos involving a swaying green stick bug. Typically, these clips begin with an unrelated subject that then rapidly changes, revealing the dancing bug set to different music. The meme exploded in popularity in late July 2020 on various platforms including Discord, iFunny, and Twitter.
Monki Flip refers to a viral video of a bonobo ape performing a backflip, set to the song "Highlander (The One)" by Lost Horizon and captioned "monki flip." Originating from a viral Instagram post, the video gained significant popularity as a bait-and-switch meme in mid-August 2020.
You Just Got Hey Stinky'd refers to a bait-and-switch video featuring a video of Mario, specifically his sprite from Super Mario RPG, dancing to a version of I.Y.A.Z's "Replay" composed by SilvaGunner. The video begins with an image of Mario over a black screen, followed by a soundbite of Mario saying, "Hey, Stinky!" from Mario Party 7. The image of Mario then zooms out, the song plays, and the bottom-text, "You Just Got Hey Stinky'd!!" is revealed as Mario performs the Club Penguin dance.