Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I took a trip down south to hang out with the in-laws. It was a great chance to get away from constant mentally draining chaos of the city and more importantly, an opportunity for my wife and son to get some bonding time in with the other side of the family.
To say that the young one had an incredible time would be a gross understatement. There’s a place in Murfreesboro, Arkansas called Dino Dig where kids can dig around in sand to find a variety of multi-colored rocks. Essentially, it’s a giant sandbox with pretty rocks scattered about and decorated with huge dinosaur statues and bones.
Not only was it a battle to get Liam out of there, he’s talked about it every day since. Listening to him communicate the excitement and fun he had made me ask this question. When was the last time you’ve ever seen a commercial for sand? I’m not talking about the “kinetic sand” for sale either. At least for me, never.
I mean, think of the amount of marketing we all deal with on a daily basis. From the time we wake up, our heads are bombarded with reasons to buy something or use a service. Aside from physical products, we’re beat in our collective heads with philosophical marketing. Social media timelines and newsfeeds are flooded with people trying to convince, scare or anger you into their way of thinking.
If you assume that turning off the TV and radio is the answer, think again. There’s absolutely no where you can turn and not see an ad or billboard that’s attempting to go elbows-deep into your pockets. It’s an infinite stream of marketing that only pauses when you fall asleep. Sure, everyone has a job to do and money makes our world go ‘round but dammit, sometimes you need a break.
My son’s break was the giant sandbox. As the countless grains poured between his little fingers into every fold of clothing, there wasn’t one thought of latest toy poised to save the galaxy from the evil dollars in our bank accounts. For the time being, it was all about the sand that could be found anywhere.
No one told him that he needed it to be cool, safe or justify his blackness. There was no prompting from a commercial showing a bunch of kids his age shrieking about how fun it was. It was simply what it was, a kid discovering the joy of covering himself with something that needed no advertising. Then I checked my phone and came across an ad for beach vacation and realized yes, sand can indeed be marketed. They got me again.