Seems the world hasn't infact gone mad...and the Gen Pets are just a spoof. A viral campaign instigated by an upandcoming sculptor, whose purpose for the project appears to be a mixture of commercial art, social commentary and job-seeking. Such is the power of viral that if you Google "Gen Pets" you now get over 3.5 million results. Not bad exposure.
Implications - Revelations such as this go a long way towards demonstrating just how lucrative viral attention can be if successfully generated. In today's modern world ideas spread faster than ever, and if a company manages to capture the imagination of their consumers there is no telling how widespread their influence can become.