Success Kid / I Hate Sandcastles
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Success Kid, sometimes known as I Hate Sandcastles, is a reaction image of a baby at a beach with a smug facial expression. It has been used in image macros to designate either success or frustration. In early 2011, the original image was turned into an advice animal style image macro with captions describing a situation that goes better than expected.
The original image was taken by photographer Laney Griner of her then 11-month-old son Sammy on August 26th, 2007. She posted it to both her personal Flickr account and put it up on Getty Images, which has since been removed.
As early as January 2008, users on social networking sites like MySpace began incorporating the photo of Sammy into their profiles, either as their avatar or as part of the page's layout. It was often paired with the phrases "Ima Fuck you up" or "I Hate Sandcastles"
In May 2008, the image was made freely available on image hosting site Pyzam.com with a second child photoshopped in to the background. It was reposted on humor sites Damn Funny Pictures and Daily Haha the next month. This version was part of a photoshop thread on Russian-language social news site Yaplakal.com on June 4th of that same year.
One of the earliest Success Kid advice animal style image macros was uploaded to Reddit on January 28th, 2011. As of February 2011, there are over 66,000 instances of Success Kid on Quickmeme, nearly 300 on MemeGenerator, and over 3000 results on the Advice Animals subreddit.
In July 2011, the single topic blog on Tumblr called Fuck Yeah Success Kid was started and collections of these images were posted to humor sites Pleated Jeans in July 2011 and Uproxx that November. There is also a category for Success Kid images on Ranker and Memebase and a Facebook fan page with over 4000 likes.
Kidney Transplant Crowdfunding Campaign
On April 8th, 2015, Griner launched a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe to raise money for her husband Justin's kidney transplant (shown below).
On April 13th, The Daily Dot published an article about the crowdfunding effort, which included an email from Griner in which she revealed her husband "spends 12 hours a week in a dialysis clinic." On April 15th, Redditor IrishProf submitted an article about Griner's campaign page to the /r/UpliftingNews subreddit, where it gathered more than 3,900 votes (85% upvoted) in the the first 24 hours. In the coming days, many news sites published articles about the GoFundMe campaign, including Time, E! Online, Today, IB Times and Metro. Within one week, the page reached over $88,000 of its $75,000 goal.
On July 11th, 2020, Sam Griner appeared on the BuzzFeedVideos YouTube channel to discuss his meme, garnering over 5.6 million views in two years (shown below).
Copyright Lawsuit Against Former Rep. Steve King
On January 23rd, 2020, Twitter user @ehananoki shared a screenshot from former Republican Iowa Representative Steve King's Facebook page that shows him using the Success Kid meme to fundraise. On that day, Success Kid's mother retweeted the post, writing, "Just so it’s clear – I have/would never give permission for use of my son’s photo to promote any agenda of this vile man or that disgusting party (shown below).
On January 27th, the Hollywood Reporter reported that Griner's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to King over his use of the meme, posting the full contents of the letter to their article. King had until that Wednesday at 9:00 A.M to remove the post, which he did. In part, the letter reads:
"You have a record of vitriolic criticism of individuals who belong to protected classes or disadvantaged groups, or who support legal rights that you condemn. The majority of U.S. consumers reject your political and other views, often vehemently, as they have a right to do. Those people may be repelled by any association with your politics and campaign and, therefore, unwilling to purchase products from legitimate licensees of the 'Success Kid' meme, an association you have unilaterally and unlawfully imposed."
On August 23rd, 2022, the Des Moines Register reported that Griner filed a lawsuit against King in December 2020 and it would be moving to a jury trial in November 2022. According to the article, King said of the lawsuit, ""It is a petty and politically motivated case of litigation persecution. I had no involvement or prior knowledge whatsoever and the plaintiff and her attorneys know that."
Success Kid in Advertising
In February 2012, British media company Virgin Media recently began running billboards featuring a mirrored version of Sammy's photo. The advertising campaign was covered by New Rising Media and the Daily What.
Griner later confirmed via Flickr that she did get paid for use of the photo and he would also be appearing in Vitamin Water commercials in the United States in 2012.
White House Tweet
On June 19, 2013, the @WhiteHouse Twitter feed tweeted a Success Kid image with the caption "Pass Immigration Reform Save Taxpayers $897,000,000,000" (shown below).
Laney Griner has continued to post photos of Sammy on her Flickr through the years. Many have been shared on Reddit, Blame it on The Voices and the Daily What.
 Flickr – "Why I Oughta…"
 Google – Image search results
 All4MySpace (via Wayback Machine) – I Hate Sandcastles MySpace Layout
 Pyzam (via Wayback Machine) – I Hate Sandcastles Graphic
 Yaplakal – Fotozhaba: I'll show you!
 Getty Images – Little boy at the beach eating sand (page unavailable)
 Flickr – Laney G's Photostream
 Damn Funny Pictures – I Hate Sand Castles
 Daily Haha – I hate Sandcastles
 Reddit – Success Kid Finds A Controller
 Quickmeme – Success Kid
 MemeGenerator – Success Kid
 Reddit – Search results for "Success Kid"
 Tumblr (via Wayback Machine) – Fuck Yeah Success Kid
 Pleated Jeans – Best of The Success Kid Meme
 Uproxx – Meme Watch: Success Kid Wins At Life, Excels In Cuteness
 Ranker – The Very Best of the Success Kid Meme
 Memebase – Success Kid Category
 Facebook – Success Kid
 New Rising Media – Virgin Media Using 'Success Kid' Meme For Marketing
 The Daily What – The Interpipes are Leaking of the Day
 Reddit – Do you recognize him?
 Blame it on the Voices – Then and Now: Success Kid
 The Daily What – Then And Now of the Day
 GoFundMe – Justins Kidney Transplant
 Reddit – Calling All Redditors
 Time – Boy of Success Kid Meme Fundraises For Fathers Kidney Transplant
 E! Online – Boy From Success Kid Meme is Now 8
 Today – Boy from Success Kid meme turns to Internet to help his dad find new kidney
 IBI Times – Success Kid meme star Sammy Griner helps father in kidney transplant plea
 Metro – The boy from the Success Kid meme
 The Daily Dot – Success Kids dad needs your help getting a new kidney
 Twitter – @ObamaWhiteHouse
 YouTube – I Accidentally Became A Meme Success Kid
 Hollywood Reporter – Threatens to Sue Rep. Steve King for Using the Meme in Fundraising Effort
 Des Moines Register – Meme baby lawsuit against former Rep. Steve King set for trial in November
Dragirby (Discord & Goat Dad's Waifu)
Apr 15, 2015 at 06:36PM EDT
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