Cre­ator of Pet Rock, Gary Dahl, dies on March 23, age of 78

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

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.

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