Gary Dahl’s Pet Rock: Simple yet Persuasive


In the early of 1975, Gary Dahl was employed as an advertising executive launched the invention of the pet rock. It immediately transformed Dahl into a multi millionaire in just a short period of time. This tremendous achievement is greatly impressive since it only took him six months to achieve that millionaire status, considering that the product was extremely low in cost.


The pet rock was sold only for $3.95 and for a period of six months, Dahl had sold over 5 million pet rocks. Moreover, each pet rock was bought only a few pennies with the packaging and the manual was estimated to only cost him 30 cents per rock to produce in bulk. Assuming that the delivery cost was only 65 cents per rock, it follows that per rock his profit was 3 dollars. Considering these, Dahl earned a total of over 15 million dollars in a six month period in 1975, which today the value would be estimated as $56,166,419.02.


Dahl’s innovative idea of marketing was just a common gray pebble bought from a construction supplier and sold to public as pets. The main idea was inspired then of the mess, hassle and the high cost of having live pets such as cats, dog and fish demands.


The marketing strategy began when Dahl created the company named “Rock Bottom Productions”. Rocks were imported from a beach named Rosario located in Baja, California. The packaging for the rock pet includes a “Pet Training manual” and a box made of a cardboard formed as a pet carrier. The manual contains of several instructions on what the proper care for a pet should be such as training the house rock pet to be placed inside a piece of  newspaper and other instructions to command it to play dead, roll over, sit and come. Dahl was successful to instill in the minds of the buyers that pet rocks can provide more pleasure than one could ever think. He then persuaded the consumer that the mere idea of the pet rock is the one responsible in making the child happy, and not the actual item. The pet rock then was the literal exercise of the mind to obtain pleasure on them. It is then a valid point to have known such an effective and productive way of recreation that is more beneficial to one’s mind health and has been considered as one of the latest psychological treatments. Buyers of this unusual pet rock would tend to give names, petted and talk to them, some of which attempted to instruct them to execute simple tricks.


Dahl’s multi millionaire idea was just plain simple, yet was highly successful and effective as compared to other fads like the Cabbage Patch kids and the Hula Hoop. With these amazing pet rocks, revitalization was the inspiration in creation of this million dollar opportunity. Dahl’s invention taught us that a good idea as his, combined with hard work and a good marketing strategy can definitely hook everyone and bring him millions.



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