Creator of Pet Rock, Gary Dahl, dies on March 23, age of 78
Gary Dahl, the creator of the “Pet Rock,” an idea whose nutty simplicity made it a marketing sensation in 1975, has died at the age of 78, U. S. press reports said Wednesday.
The former advertising copywriter died on March 23, The New York Times said.
In a craze the Times likened to that of the Hula- Hoop — although “even less explicable” — more than a million people bought Pet Rocks.
Priced at US$ 3.95, the Pet Rock came nested like an egg in a cardboard carrying case with holes for air, accompanied by a 36- page manual on its care and feeding.
“When it debuted in 1975, the Pet Rock was the perfect combination of three decades’ ethos: it had the whimsy of the 1960s, the ironic, absurdist sensibility of the 70s, and the consumerism of the imminent 80s,” said the online magazine Vox.
“But more important than that, it was a viral joke years before YouTube was even a word.”
The idea was conceived in a bar in Los Gatos, California, where Dahl was living at the time, the Times said.
When the talk turned to the tiresome job of taking care of pets, Dahl had a burst of inspiration, announcing he had no such problems. “I have a pet rock,” he said. “People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems,” Dahl told People magazine in 1975.” This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we’ve packaged a sense of humor.”
Newspaper stories and television appearances fed the fad, and Dahl introduced other nov- elty items like an “Original Sand Breeding Kit” — two test tubes filled with sand — but they never had the same success.
He went on to write the book, “Advertising for Dummies” in 2001.
Gary Dahl, originator of the Pet Rock, holds Pet Rock items in 1976. Gary Ross Dahl, the creator of the wildly popular 1970s fad the Pet Rock, has died at age 78 in southern Oregon.