The beer commercial “find your beach” is very popular and with reason — a reason that ends up unknowingly costing us money. The basis of the commercial if you haven’t seen it or one of the many iterations is this: an attractive couple sits with their backs to us in a couple of Adirondack chairs with a low table between them and an ice filled bucket containing cold beers and limes. They are sitting doing nothing – not a care in the world on a tropical beach in paradise. We’re told to find “our beach.”
It’s a brilliant marketing campaign because you remember the brand very well and it connects you emotionally to something you crave – peace and relaxation. The problem is the scene is far different from daily life and the emotional connection you yearn for is unattainable by the product. First of all, the man and woman sport perfectly even golden tans in the commercial (I don’t even want to go there). There are no cell phones, computers or tablets anywhere in the vicinity. There is no noise but the ocean waves hitting the beach. The couple is enjoying each other’s company (in other words, not bickering). By their posture and voice tone, they don’t have a care in the world or a place to rush off to. There aren’t annoying relatives around — it’s just the two of them, the warm sun, beach, gentles waves, and their bucket of beers and limes.
Don’t we all yearn for peace, freedom, and relaxation? Advertisers know that and hook us in with products that drain our resources but don’t provide the happiness we are looking for. A product doesn’t do that – a connection does. When we spend money for something we get sucked into because unconsciously there is some void in our lives, that is money truly wasted.
Since I started my “less than $100” series on how to have a wine tasting, dress for vacation, throw a birthday party, or entertain you for a whole month for less than $100, my eyes are opened as to how much money I have thrown away in my lifetime. When I think of the money I spent over the years on things that I got sucked into but haven’t provided real value, it is overwhelming. Anyone with a Nordic track or a treadmill in their bedroom can relate so I know I am not alone in this. The pile of power cords in my office is a clue to just how many electronic gadgets I have purchased over the years.
The other day I was listening to the classic rock station on Pandora radio in my office and Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful” was playing. I stopped what I was doing and listened to the lyrics and thought – that is what I am talking about! Peace and happiness isn’t from material things filling a void – it’s from making connections with people and even with ourselves.
“I don’t need a whole lots of money.
I don’t need a big fine car.
I got everything that a man could want.
I got more than I could ask for. I don’t have to run around.
I don’t have to stay out all night.
‘Cause I got me a sweet…a sweet lovin’ woman, and she knows just how to treat me right.
Well, my baby, she’s alright.
Well, my baby, she’s clean out of sight.
Don’t you know that she’s…she’s some kind of wonderful.
She’s some kind of wonderful…yes she is. She’s some kind of wonderful.”
This classic song can provide a gut check today for what we really need. Ask yourself if you are trying to fill a void by buying this product? If so, what void is it? Then go about filling it without buying something to do it. When an advertisement seems to pull you in, look for what they are offering. The beer commercial offered relaxation and connecting with someone special. Do that instead. Spend time with a family member or close friend. Improve a relationship. Think of ways to contribute to someone else, especially if they are in need. Spend time in nature, leaving your cell phone behind. Unplug and spend time relaxing at home. Pamper yourself. All of these things are free but touch the heart of what is really important to you.