The History Of The Pet Rock

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Origin of Thought



In 1975, Gary Dahl, an advertising executive, launched the sale of a fad that would make him a millionaire. This great profit is even more impressive when one takes into account the short time in which the rocks were sold, only six months, and also the low cost of the product, about four dollars. Dahl’s ingenious marketing involved commonplace gray pebbles, bought from a construction supplier, which were then sold as live pets. The idea was inspired by the hassle, mess, and money that pets such as cats or dogs or fish required. And so, Dahl began the production and sale of the Pet Rock, which did not need to be walked, wouldn’t cost hundreds in vet bills, and would not poop on the floor.

Specifics of Production

Dahl named the company “Rock Bottom Productions,” and sold the rocks for $3.95 a piece. The pebbles were imported from Rosarito Beach in Baja California, Mexico, and then packaged in a small cardboard box, designed like a pet carrier. Dahl also created a “Pet Rock Training Manual,” containing instructions on how to properly care for one’s pet, including how to house train one’s pet: “Place it on some old newspapers. The rock will never know what the paper is for and will require no further instruction.” The instruction manual included such commands as sit, stay, roll over, play dead, and come.

Why would anyone ever buy a pet rock?

“If there were more fads, there would probably be a lot fewer psychiatrists.”


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