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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet: The Holiday Gift From Your Weird Uncle


San Francisco-based Joseph Enterprises, the company behind the Chia Pet, will be spending almost $9 million dollars on advertising this year alone. Yet from the months of January to September of this year, they’ve only spent $5,000 dollars. This is because almost all of the advertising happens during the holiday season, and likewise, 90% of Chia sales occur during the holidays. They’re like the Jesus of the kitschy seed planter pottery world – big in December, ignored the rest of the year.

They were first introduced in 1981 and have continued to cling to the public consciousness despite being branded as just a fad product. Joseph Enterprises does a good job of keeping the public interested with new forms each year. For example, this year they have characters from the films “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” on top of their regular line of kittens and hippos and elephants.

Check out the timeline of all the different types of Chia pet:

* 1982 Wave 1 — Original Chia Pet (later called Chia Ram) introduced.
* 1983-92 Wave 2 — Chia Bull, Chia Puppy, Chia Kitten, and Chia Tree introduced.
* 1993 Wave 3 — Chia Bunny, Chia Turtle, and Chia Herb Garden introduced.
* 1995 Wave 4 — Chia Pig, Chia Frog, Chia Hippo, and original Chia Head (later called Chia Guy) introduced. Chia Ram and Chia Bull discontinued.
* 1996 Wave 5 — Chia Elephant, Chia Kid, Chia Professor, Chia Clown and Chia Terra Cotta Herb Garden introduced. Chia Herb Garden discontinued.
* 1998 Wave 6 — Chia Cow and Chia Lion Cub introduced.
* 2000 Wave 7 — Chia Dinosaur, Chia Elmer Fudd, Chia Taz, and Chia Tweety introduced. “Watch-Me-Grow Chia Cards” included. Chia Mr. T issued briefly for TV Land promotion.
* 2002 Wave 8 — Chia Scooby-Doo, Chia Shaggy, and Chia Homer introduced. “Watch-Me-Grow Chia Cards” discontinued.
* 2003 Wave 9 — Chia Bugs Bunny, Chia Daffy Duck, and Chia Bart introduced.
* 2004 Wave 10 — Chia Shrek, Chia Donkey, Chia Garfield, Chia Cat Grass Planter featuring Sylvester and Tweety, and Gourmet Chia Herb Garden introduced. Chia Terra Cotta Herb Garden discontinued.
* 2006 Wave 11 — Chia Bear, Chia Alex and Chia Marty introduced, Chia Ram and Chia Bull reintroduced, Chia Kid, Chia Clown and Chia Lion Cub retired, Chia Alarm Clock included with all Chia Pets, Chia Heads and Chia Tree, Cuddly Chia Puppy and Cuddly Chia Cub introduced.
* 2007 — Pack-ins expanded to include Mini Chia Cuddly and Chia Watch.
* 2008 Wave 12 — Chia Po, Chia Tree with Star Light, and Chia Cat Grass Planter featuring “snoozing kitty” introduced. Chia Ram, Chia Bull, Chia Turtle, Chia Bear, Chia Elmer Fudd, Chia Bugs Bunny, Chia Daffy Duck, Chia Tree, Cuddly Chia Puppy, and Cuddly Chia Cub discontinued. Pack-ins include Mini Chia Cuddly and Chia Playing Cards.