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The Pet Rock Was A 6 Month Fad That Made The Inventor A Millionaire

"My Own Pet Rock" by Ian Steele is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Hallowe’en can be a traumatic time for pets. Between the parties, costumes and bombardment of trick or treaters, the non-human components of your family can find themselves a little stressed out, which is one of the reasons to spend the days leading up to Hallowe’en comforting and reassuring them. Thank goodness, then, for Pet Rock Day, offering the perfect opportunity to pamper and spoil the special stone in your life.

  • Launched in the 1970s by advertising executive Gary Dahl, the pet rock was an antithesis to those living pets in need of regular care. It did, however, come with a mean “attack” mode.
  • Inventor Gary Dahl said he came up with the idea while drinking in a bar and listening to other patrons complain about taking care of their pets. Dahl said he had no such problems with his pet.  “Because I have a pet rock.”   It grew from there.
  • For a mere $3.95 people could adopt their very own rock, supplied on a bed of hay in an well-ventilated box. Like all things, pet rocks are more expensive these days, but you could always catch a wild one for free – just remember that undomesticated rocks may be more difficult to handle.
  • Newsweek once called the phenomenon of people purchasing Pet Rocks as “One of the most ridiculously successful marketing schemes in history.”
  • Arguably, the biggest selling point was the training manual that came with each rock. Dahl was an advertising copyrighter and knew how to craft a fun, pun-filled set of instructions. Chapters included how to teach your rock to “Sit,” “Stay” and “Attack.”
  • The Pet Rock took off when it was featured on the Tonight Show just before the Christmas shopping season of 1975.
  • It seems like an urban legend these days, but it was actually true. Dahl sold over 1.5 million Pet Rocks and became a millionaire in the process
  • In 2001, Dahl resurfaced as part of another marketing savvy trend, the For Dummies series of books. Dahl penned Advertising for Dummies, which might just be his longest lasting achievement, as it is still in print today.
  • Dahl called his company Rock Bottom Productions. He used grey stones he found on Rosarito Beach in Baja, Mexico.
  • What is surprising though is the fact that even in 2018, people were still buying pet rocks. Unlike Barbie, these rocks are not sold as playthings for children, but rather as things to be owned by adults.
  • According to its manufacturers, pet rocks are the only pets that you can own without worrying about feeding, bathing, walking, or even training it. That is because it is a stone!


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