Pet Rock is a collectible toy made in 1975 by advertising executive Gary Dahl. Pet Rocks are smooth stones from Mexico's Rosarito Beach. They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes. The fad lasted about six months, ending after a short increase in sales during the Christmas season of December 1975.
In April 1975, in a bar with a friend, Gary Dahl listened 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 it would not die, become sick, or be disobedient. Dahl said that they were to be the perfect pets and joked about it with his friends. Dahl took his "pet" idea seriously, however, and drafted an instruction manual for a pet rock. The manual was full of puns and gags that referred to the rock as an actual pet.
Pet Rock despite being a fad, saw its fair amount of success and it can highlight the level of loneliness that persists in our society and to what lengths people are willing to go for company. Design should enable more such experiments to really make us all question the way we live.