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.

Learn about Pet Rock Day

In order to understand Pet Rock Day, we first need to explain what Pet Rock is. After all, for some of you reading this, it may be your first time hearing about such a thing! Pet Rock is a collectible toy that was created by Gary Dahl, an advertising executive. These toys are created using smooth stones from Rosarito Beach in Mexico. The stones were marketed like live pets. The fad lasted for around six months, coming to a conclusion after a small increase in sales during the 1975 festive season. Even though lower sales caused the toy to be discounted in February of 1976, Dahl still managed to sell more than one-million Pet Rocks, which cost $4 at the time, meaning he became a millionaire. 

There are a number of different facts that are incredibly fascinating about Pet Rocks. It is hard to argue when people say that this is one of the greatest marketing schemes in history. After all, who would have thought that you would be able to package up a rock and sell it as a pet? It is pretty incredible, isn’t it? It’s also even more impressive when you adjust the $4 price tag to coincide with today’s prices. Today, that’s the equivalent of around $18 per rock. When you take into account the fact that you could go outside right now and pick up a rock yourself, it really does blow the mind that this managed to become such a hit! You simply need to sit back and appreciate the genius of it all, whether you think it is ridiculous or not. 

One of the best things that Dahl was quoted as saying was “You might say we’ve packaged a sense of humor.” The ironic gift showed that humor was well and truly alive. There is no denying that the training manual that came with the rock was actually the biggest selling point. Dahl knew how to create a pun-filled and fun set of instructions due to his experience as an advertising copyrighter. 

The Pet Rock took off when it was featured on the Tonight Show just before the festive shopping period started in 1975. After this, Dahl tried to recapture the magic with a number of other products, including the bicentennial Pet Rock. However, none of these products took off. His biggest blunder was the sand Breeding Kit. this is a kit that enabled owners to care for a miniature desert, which was funny but did not take off.  Nevertheless, this is not to say that Dahl did not achieve more throughout his career. In fact, he resurfaced in 2001 as part of a different marketing savvy trend, the For Dummies series of books. He wrote the Advertising for Dummies book, which is still in print today and so this is probably his longest-lasting achievement.

History of Pet Rock Day

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. For a mere $3.95 people could adopt their very own rock, supplied on a bed of hay in a 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…

You may be wondering what caused Gary Dahl to come up with a creation like this. The story goes that he was in a bar with one of his friends when he listened to them complaining about their pets. Because of this, he came up with the idea of the perfect pet. This was a rock. After all, a rock did not need to be groomed, bathed, walked, or fed. It would also not be disobedient, become sick, nor would it die. He joked about rocks being the perfect pets with his friends. However, little did they know at the time that he was serious about the idea, drafting an instruction manual for pet rocks. This was full of gags and puns that referred to rocks as actual pets. 

The idea was a simple one. The straw was virtually free, and the rocks only cost one cent. The biggest cost for Dahl was manufacturing and die-cutting the boxes. After producing the initial batch, he then decided that he would add an official training manual to the product. This was a 32-page booklet that was called “The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock.” This manual included instructions on how to care for your new Pet Rock and raise it properly. The manual contained jokes, puns, and gags, as well as listing a number of different commands that you could teach your new pet rock. Commands like “attack” “stay” and “sit” were considered effortless while “shake hands” “stand” and “come” were near-on impossible. 

Sadly, Gary Dahl passed away in 2015 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 78-years-old at the time. After becoming a millionaire through the creation of Pet Rock, he opened a bar in California. The bar was situated in downtown Los Gatos, and it was known as Carry Nations. He continued to work in the advertising industry, yet he was known for avoiding interviews. He said that the reason for this was because he was getting harassed with threats and lawsuits because of what he called “a bunch of wackos.”  

How to celebrate Pet Rock Day

One way to celebrate Pet Rock Day is by creating your own pet rock. All you need to do is go outside and find a rock that is fit for the job. You can then head to the craft store and buy a couple of supplies so that you can glue some eyes to the rock. Then, you’re good to go; you have your own pet rock! Make sure you share your pet rock creation on social media so that everyone can see how you have paid honor to Pet Rock Day. You never know, it may bring back memories for people that purchased their own!

You can also spend some time looking online to see the different pet rocks that people from all over the world have had. You may be amazed by some of the different rock creations that people make for Pet Rock Day. You will see pet rocks in all kinds of patterns, with various designs. This may even inspire you when creating your own pet rock.

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