R.I.P GARY DAHL
Some people deserve a special nod of the head when they depart the flesh and Gary Dahl is one of them. When you can convince people to purchase a inanimate object as a pet then you go on my awesome person list. In April 1975, Gary Ross Dahl was in a bar (which is now Beauregard Vineyards Tasting room in Bonny Doon) listening to his friends complain about their pets. This gave him the idea for the perfect “pet”: a rock. A rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, or groomed; and would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. He said they were to be the perfect pets, and joked about it with his friends. Dahl took the idea seriously, and drafted an “instruction manual” for a pet rock. It was full of puns, gags and plays on words that referred to the rock as an actual pet.
When you have an idea, it’s just that – an idea unless you take action. Gary took action and his rocks which were smooth stone’s from Mexic’s Rosariot Beach went on the market. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes for the “animal.” The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975. Although by February 1976 they were discounted due to lower sales, Dahl sold 1.5 million Pet Rocks for $4, and became a millionaire.
Althought the rock was the main focus of the media, a 32-page official training manual titled The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock was included, with instructions on how to properly raise and care for one’s new Pet Rock (notably lacking instructions for feeding, bathing, etc.). The instruction manual was actually the real product: it was full of gags, puns and jokes.
Gary was aother innovator who had an idea, belief, a plan of execution and went out and did it. Even ideas like the million dollar homepage or ship your enemies glitter stem from the same notion of thinking outside of the box. Gary we bid you adieu December 18, 1936 – March 23, 2015
American copywriter, creative director, advertising agency owner, entrepreneur and the creator of the Pet Rock – Gary Dahl