The Pet Rock and a Party “Branding Problem”
by Bob Schwartz
The Pet Rock is one of the most remarkable stories in modern marketing history. In 1975, an ad executive sold a rock in a box as a pet. It was a sensation, and more than 1.5 million were sold. In a matter of months, the phenomenon faded and became a “what were they thinking?” curiosity (though you can still buy a new one).
The rise of the Pet Rock may have been the result of clever marketing. Or maybe it was just life in the mid-1970s. Either way, the precipitous fall was not a marketing issue or a branding problem.
The Pet Rock stopped selling and ultimately became a joke because in the end, it was nothing but a rock.