You know when you buy a bag of air and someone annoyingly sneaks a few chips inside? Or when you are just trying to buy a plastic box but you end up with a handful of ribbons and beads for bracelet making? How about when you buy a sandwich and whoever made it had the audacity to stuff it full of tasty ingredients? The worst! 

As ridiculous as this sounds, it seems like some companies actually think their customers are interested in excessive packaging. Either that's what they're thinking, or they would have to admit that they intentionally mislead customers and lure them into buying less than they intended...

Down below, we’ve gathered some of the most infuriating examples of companies labeling and packaging products in deceptive ways, so you can know what to look out for the next time you are at the store. Be sure to upvote the pics that grind your gears the most, and then let us know in the comments what products you have noticed that are notorious for ripping buyers off. And if you’d like to be annoyed by even more evil packaging, be sure to check out Bored Panda’s last article on the same topic right here.

#1

I Chose The Bottle Because A Tube Wasn't Enough. This Trojan Trickery Is An Abuse Coming From A Brand With Recognition

I Chose The Bottle Because A Tube Wasn't Enough. This Trojan Trickery Is An Abuse Coming From A Brand With Recognition

PoorGeno Report

Corbin
Community Member
2 months ago

wow that is some serious bs and one of the reasons why we way to much plastic floating around in the ocean and stuck in our landfills,shame on them

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As consumers, we understand that businesses are out to make a profit. We support them by purchasing their products, but that does not make us stupid. If we’re getting ripped off or we have been misled, we are going to notice. And many people have made it their mission to call out companies who are trying to trick their customers. There is a difference between persuasive marketing and outright deception, and although inflation has affected us all, that does not make it fair for companies to practice false advertising.

This has become such an issue that the European Parliament actually conducted a study on “misleading packaging practices”. They noted that there is no legal definition of “misleading packaging practices” either on the EU or Member States levels, so they had to create their own: “any kind of product packaging that notwithstanding a cursory examination as a result of the size of the packaging, its form or design or other important elements directly related to the packaging, including as well comparisons of the product in its current state to previous packaging and to competitors’ packaging, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer in relation to the quantity, the quality or other main characteristics of the product, and which causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to make a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.”

#2

Cup Design That Makes The Drink Look Like It Has Actual Fruit

Cup Design That Makes The Drink Look Like It Has Actual Fruit

St-Paerikus , plutonium-239 Report

zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago

That’s just sad.

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#3

"Think They'll Notice?"

"Think They'll Notice?"

IWatchYouInTheShower Report

zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago

What the fu-

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The study delved into some of the most common misleading practices including: bigger packages with the same quantity at the same or a higher price; same packages with less quantity at the same price; attaching “gifts” to the package; turning metric (when weights are converted yet still reduced); wrongful or misleading information on the package; copycat packaging; and new formulas. They broke these practices down into two categories: those relating to the quantity and those relating to the quality of a product.

The EU Parliament also found that in 5 out of 13 Member States, very little to no information could be found showing that customers were aware of misleading packaging. That does not mean that the citizens really had no idea, but there were no formal complaints made or very little evidence that consumers were discussing this issue. In the countries where customers were clearly aware, there might not have been many formal complaints either. But in Lithuania, for example, the report states that, “Their awareness and concerns towards misleading packaging is reflected in internet comments and their participation in forum discussions. Furthermore, there are several private initiatives on the internet suggesting not to buy products which are pre-packed in a misleading manner.”

#4

Insurance Wouldn't Cover Pills, Only Capsules. The Script Went From $2.73 To $56.91 Because Of That. It's Literally A Pill Shoved Into A Capsule

Insurance Wouldn't Cover Pills, Only Capsules. The Script Went From $2.73 To $56.91 Because Of That. It's Literally A Pill Shoved Into A Capsule

readstewmuch Report

AMH
Community Member
2 months ago

Why wouldn't pills be covered?

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#5

Artificial Or Not

Artificial Or Not

bwenstrand Report

zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago

Make up your mind!

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#6

Deceiving French Sandwich

Deceiving French Sandwich

Far0s Report

Leslie (they/them)
Community Member
2 months ago

*cues Gordon voice* “YOU ARE AN IDIOT SANDWICH”

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So for the most part, consumers are aware that there are some products being sold in sketchy packaging out there. But what are they supposed to do about it? We should not feel like we have to be on guard before buying anything and inspect the weight listed on the package taking into consideration how much it costs and comparing that to how much the last bag we bought six months ago cost. Grocery shopping should not involve mental gymnastics. 

At least in the United States, companies need to be wary of practicing false advertising because customers can pursue legal action. “If you paid for a product or service that was falsely or improperly advertised, you can hold the offending company accountable through a misleading advertising lawsuit,” the Wilshire Law Firm explains on their website. “If you successfully prove your claims, you could receive financial compensation.”

#7

Crayola - Super Art Coloring Kit

Crayola - Super Art Coloring Kit

OldMcNick Report

Down With Agent Hedgehog!
Community Member
2 months ago

Is this legal?

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#8

All Three Packets Contain The Same Ingredients In The Same Quantity, Same Amount Of Tablets, Same Manufacturer, Three Different Prices

All Three Packets Contain The Same Ingredients In The Same Quantity, Same Amount Of Tablets, Same Manufacturer, Three Different Prices

vidoardes Report

Down With Agent Hedgehog!
Community Member
2 months ago

All of this list seems illegal…

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#9

You Sit On A Throne Of Lies

You Sit On A Throne Of Lies

HailChanka69 Report

Kayla J
Community Member
2 months ago

that "18" marking noting how many candy bars are inside has gotten bigger on these since they first arrived in stores. Still, such a waste of cardboard.

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The Wilshire Law Firm explains what qualifies as false advertising as well: manipulating key terms, deceptive visual representation of the product, bait and switch (when companies pretend to be selling one good or service but end up giving the customers an inferior version), incomplete or false comparisons, and misleading product warranties or guarantees. When it comes to the consequences of false advertising, there are a few different routes consumers can take to seek justice.

For products that have been widely sold across the country resulting in a massive number of victims, class action lawsuits are usually the best way to go. Some class action lawsuits have millions or even billions of dollars at stake, and companies can be required to compensate for financial losses, to cover injuries, and more. Courts can also use a legal injunction to stop businesses from continuing their misleading marketing. Any of these cases can become very complicated, but if you feel you have been led astray or ripped off by a company, the Wilshire Law Firm recommends you seek legal counsel.    

#10

So Much Wastage Just To Make The Jar Look A Little Bigger

So Much Wastage Just To Make The Jar Look A Little Bigger

suethezombiedinosaur Report

Fried Mermaid
Community Member
2 months ago

This happens a lot with beauty products :/ always check your packaging fellas!

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#11

I Got An Issue With Your Tissue

I Got An Issue With Your Tissue

T3QN33K Report

Daffodil
Community Member
2 months ago

Um... the math ain't mathin' on this one

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#12

Bamboozled

Bamboozled

mewusedpsychic Report

I I
Community Member
2 months ago

sh1t like this should be illegal

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When we think of products that get away with evil packaging, bags of air and shockingly small items usually come to mind. But there are a multitude of ways companies attempt to manipulate consumers, including tricking them into believing products are healthier than they are in reality. Ellie Krieger broke down some of the ways corporations try to influence what consumers think of a product in this piece for The Washington Post, and some of them may surprise you. For example, even the shape of a bottle can influence how customers perceive the healthiness of a beverage. We tend to assume that taller, thinner bottles contain less calories than their thicker counterparts, and when a thin container has curves similar to the indent of a woman’s waist, customers are likely to view those products as healthy as well. 

#13

Desert Escape And Walmart Gluing On A Flower On This Cactus

Desert Escape And Walmart Gluing On A Flower On This Cactus

brendine9 Report

Astra-nomical
Community Member
2 months ago

This always makes me sad to see because it actually hurts the cactus and it's tricky to remove too

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#14

Big Box To Make It Seem Like There's More

Big Box To Make It Seem Like There's More

lonetrooper56 Report

EpicWolfandSparrow
Community Member
2 months ago

Omg craft kits are the worst. If you want to get one as a gift it would be 1. Cheaper, 2. More meaningful, 3. Heartfelt, 4. Fun, to just buy all the pieces individually and print out some instructions. Same if you want it for yourself, lol

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#15

Still Tastes Good But Looks Like It's Come From Someone's Tortured Bowels

Still Tastes Good But Looks Like It's Come From Someone's Tortured Bowels

benjchelt Report

April W
Community Member
2 months ago

I want to give these out at Halloween

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Images can also subconsciously lead customers to assume a product is healthy. Ellie explains that many companies use depictions of farms, fields, grains and produce on their products so customers will associate their food with being natural or fresh off a farm. “As I browsed the grocery store recently, I saw pictures of whole wheat still in its husk on boxes of crackers made only with refined flour; sketches of garden leaves on bags of coconut sugar, and prominent images of ripe whole fruit and vegetables on snack bars and puffs that contain more sugar than produce on the ingredient list, and the produce was in powdered form at that,” Ellie writes. “Pictures on packages can be powerful unconscious cues, connoting unprocessed, farm-fresh, natural foods that are flush with healthful properties. Very often the ingredient list tells a different story.”

#16

I Feel Tricked, Possibly Even Bamboozled

I Feel Tricked, Possibly Even Bamboozled

SEND_ME_RULE-34 Report

D Battle II
Community Member
2 months ago

Just M&M.

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#17

My Bag Of Mixed Veggies

My Bag Of Mixed Veggies

therealmikechadwick Report

AsexualCat
Community Member
2 months ago

they might've put a bit more corn

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#18

Purely Deceiving Consumers

Purely Deceiving Consumers

AdorimeJacklove Report

Bookaday
Community Member
2 months ago

This is just a supreme waste of plastic. Why package like this? Just why?

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Interestingly enough, muted colors are another way food manufacturers try to trick consumers into believing that their products are more healthy or more natural than they actually are. Apparently, most shoppers associate paler colors with more healthy products and brighter, more vibrant color schemes with processed, artificially flavored foods. Ellie notes that in general, the less processed products will be packaged in this way, so you are likely to choose a healthier option if you pick solely based on color scheme. But companies can also trick you. One study found that a candy bar with a green calorie label was perceived as healthier than the exact same bar with a white label.   

#19

Sometimes I Like To Flip The Chips In The Store Shelves

Sometimes I Like To Flip The Chips In The Store Shelves

whoadan Report

kaycee14
Community Member
2 months ago

They are packaged this way deliberately so the oversized, puffed up bag protects the chips during shipping and stocking. YOU ARE NOT BEING CHEATED!

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#20

Taco Pizza... But Only If You Have All Ingredients At Home. (The Picture On The Box Is Only A “Visual Serving Proposal” It Says On The Back)

Taco Pizza... But Only If You Have All Ingredients At Home. (The Picture On The Box Is Only A “Visual Serving Proposal” It Says On The Back)

teamcemi Report

Leslie (they/them)
Community Member
2 months ago

Not even a good looking cheese pizza.🙄

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#21

Why Must You Break My Heart?

Why Must You Break My Heart?

JaneVivanda Report

Lola M
Community Member
2 months ago

WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME

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Yet another way companies are out to trick us is through “greenwashing”. Greenwashing is when companies exaggerate how environmentally friendly a product or their entire company is to generate more sales. It is trendy to care about the environment now, which is great, but it is just one more way companies can increase their products. Buzz words like “sustainable”, “eco”, “clean”, “green”, “responsible” and many more are now plastered all over products to appeal to customers’ consciences, but these claims are often unsubstantiated. As the Changing Markets Foundation wrote in a piece where they called out big brands for greenwashing, “Coca-Cola has spent millions of pounds in advertising telling consumers that some of its bottles are made out of 25% marine plastic while failing to mention that it is the world’s biggest plastic polluter.”  

#22

The Amount Of Deodorant There Is In An Unopened, Unused Deodorant Stick

The Amount Of Deodorant There Is In An Unopened, Unused Deodorant Stick

lDipsyl Report

EpicWolfandSparrow
Community Member
2 months ago

That's the secret!

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#23

Meanwhile, In My Hometown, A Cutthroat Country Called Malaysia

Meanwhile, In My Hometown, A Cutthroat Country Called Malaysia

BootySmackahah Report

LMW
Community Member
2 months ago

My stomach just turned looking at this

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#24

Where's My Wiener?

Where's My Wiener?

z4ku Report

michael scott
Community Member
2 months ago

That's what she said!

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Coca-Cola is only one example of a laundry list of corporations getting away with greenwashing including IKEA, TESCO, Unilever, and Kim Kardashian’s clothing brand SKIMS. George Harding-Rolls, campaign manager at Changing Markets Foundations, says on the topic, “Our latest investigation exposes a litany of misleading and mendacious claims from household names consumers should be able to trust. This is just the tip of the iceberg and it is of crucial importance that regulators take this issue seriously. The industry is happy to gloat its green credentials with little substance on the one hand, while continuing to perpetuate the plastic crisis on the other. We are calling out greenwashing so the world can see that voluntary action has led to a market saturated with false claims. We must embrace systemic solutions, such as absolute reductions in plastic packaging and mandatory deposit return systems."

#25

Nice, Big Bottle Of Herbs Of Prov...

Nice, Big Bottle Of Herbs Of Prov...

JohnRFL Report

Jane Cortez
Community Member
2 months ago

This is so wrong! I wish consumers would all simply refuse to buy these products once they discover the deception.

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#26

To Make This Bucket Of Constructor Set Look Full, They Put A Paper Cone Inside With Some Constructor Pieces Printed On It To Make It Less Noticeable

To Make This Bucket Of Constructor Set Look Full, They Put A Paper Cone Inside With Some Constructor Pieces Printed On It To Make It Less Noticeable

anatolyzenkov Report

zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago

Bro these aren’t even funny anymore, downright evil

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See Also on Bored Panda
#27

A Seedless Melon

A Seedless Melon

Org_ChemistVir Report

D Battle II
Community Member
2 months ago

What seeds?

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Whether you were already aware of many of these manipulative marketing tactics or if this list has opened your eyes to the deception of some of your favorite brands, we hope you are enjoying the calling out of these companies. Remember to keep these photos in mind when doing your weekly shop, so you can do your best not to get ripped off. Companies should not be able to get away with charging the same or more for less product, and consumers should not have to do mental gymnastics to figure out what they are purchasing. Keep upvoting the pics that annoy you the most, and then let us know in the comments if you have any experience with falsely advertised products.

#28

The “New Look” Packaging Is Just 20% Less Product For The Same Price

The “New Look” Packaging Is Just 20% Less Product For The Same Price

NeedTacosASAP Report

Brenda
Community Member
2 months ago

All HBA products and most food manufacturers are doing this and have been for quite a while.

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#29

Seriously?

Seriously?

wooden_slug Report

Daniel Atkins
Community Member
2 months ago

Just because it is enriched with it doesn’t mean your body will absorb it.

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#30

Funfetti Candy Canes. Unwrapped (Left) vs. Wrapped (Right)

Funfetti Candy Canes. Unwrapped (Left) vs. Wrapped (Right)

creynolds722 Report

Corbin
Community Member
2 months ago

Shame

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#31

Buying A Solid Milk Chocolate Stanley Cup? Surely You Only Expected Half Of One

Buying A Solid Milk Chocolate Stanley Cup? Surely You Only Expected Half Of One

dfdgfgdf568 Report

Asexual nope rope
Community Member
2 months ago

That’s despicable, nobody should be denied chocolate

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#32

So, Which Is It, Campbell's - 30% Or 40% Bigger?

So, Which Is It, Campbell's - 30% Or 40% Bigger?

CivilizedPsycho Report

Mayra
Community Member
2 months ago

It lost 10% with that dent

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#33

This Sewing Thread Box

This Sewing Thread Box

Me_Himself Report

D Battle II
Community Member
2 months ago

They've been stringing you along the entire time.

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#34

These Were Like $1.50 More Than The Other Oreos Just Because Of The Pride Packaging (No It’s Not Going To Any Charity)

These Were Like $1.50 More Than The Other Oreos Just Because Of The Pride Packaging (No It’s Not Going To Any Charity)

Chaosdrunk Report

Leslie (they/them)
Community Member
2 months ago

This is like the skittles packaging. Basically they said that there were giving up all their color for pride, so they were just gray skittles. Ofc they were more expensive 🙄

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#35

Waf-Full Of Deceit

Waf-Full Of Deceit

brookuslicious Report

D Battle II
Community Member
2 months ago

Waf-Full of Air!

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#36

Oatmeal With A Generous Amount Of Blueberries

Oatmeal With A Generous Amount Of Blueberries

bassaleh Report

LMW
Community Member
2 months ago

Hope you savored that one blueberry

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#37

My Disappointment Is Immeasurable, And My Day Is Ruined. I Didn’t Even Get A Cotton Candy One

My Disappointment Is Immeasurable, And My Day Is Ruined. I Didn’t Even Get A Cotton Candy One

RobloxLover369421 Report

Down With Agent Hedgehog!
Community Member
2 months ago

What the heck…

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#38

The Packaging Of This Chocolate Is Almost 3 Times Bigger Than The Content

The Packaging Of This Chocolate Is Almost 3 Times Bigger Than The Content

One_Laugh_Guy Report

NPC#3.14 x 109
Community Member
2 months ago

"Oh but it protects it during shipping" lol!

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#39

Bought Cheap Headphones. The Cable Advertised vs. The Cable Given

Bought Cheap Headphones. The Cable Advertised vs. The Cable Given

34thVedicDeity Report

Jay Son
Community Member
2 months ago

At least it's blue.

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#40

The Chocolate Box Is Made Deceivingly Large By The Outer Box. Nasty Trick, Merci

The Chocolate Box Is Made Deceivingly Large By The Outer Box. Nasty Trick, Merci

K_Agm Report

EpicWolfandSparrow
Community Member
2 months ago

Nooo the chocolate!!!!!!

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#41

Pizza And Beer Tonigh

Pizza And Beer Tonigh

TheDappaDon Report

Jay Son
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Probably more beer than pizza

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#42

Pricey Too

Pricey Too

whatdoyouwant83 Report

zxracat
Community Member
2 months ago

This just is infuriating

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#43

I Paid Way Too Much To Be Bamboozled Like This

I Paid Way Too Much To Be Bamboozled Like This

Mayungi Report

Daniel Atkins
Community Member
2 months ago

The poster could most likely not afford it if that tin is full. The stuff run s about $ 800 per kilogram by my estimation. (Converting from imperial in my head)

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#44

This Deceiving Cookies Packaging

This Deceiving Cookies Packaging

4BDUL4Z1Z Report

The Fabulous Killjoy
Community Member
2 months ago

Waste👏Of👏Packaging👏

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#45

Zero Satisfaction

Zero Satisfaction

xxanity Report

Ara
Community Member
2 months ago

Oops. It looks like some filling somehow found it’s way in there.

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#46

I Didn’t Have High Hopes, But Come On Now

I Didn’t Have High Hopes, But Come On Now

spoon-forks- Report

B. Dahl
Community Member
2 months ago

I buy these a lot. They aren't usually this bad. Every once in a while you get an empty one. Cheap too!

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#47

Yes, This Is New And Unused

Yes, This Is New And Unused

GiShG69 Report

Daniel Atkins
Community Member
2 months ago

It does settle during shipping. Once shaken it will look fuller.

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#48

Nescafe Is Back At It Again

Nescafe Is Back At It Again

Report

Mary August
Community Member
2 months ago

ridiculous

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#49

Kim Kardashian’s Underwear Brand Blatantly Lying About The Plastic Packaging

Kim Kardashian’s Underwear Brand Blatantly Lying About The Plastic Packaging

bishopzac Report

Yayheterogeneity
Community Member
2 months ago

This must be illegal!

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#50

2 Twix Short Of A Yard

2 Twix Short Of A Yard

proft0x Report

Eduard Korhonen
Community Member
2 months ago

Clearly says you get 18 bars

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Note: this post originally had 122 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.