Blogs Contribute "Concrete Evidence" of the Power of Mr. Happy Crack

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The Crack Team discovers growing fan base, new levels of attention through weblog trend.

The Crack Team has always known it possesses what marketers consider the “holy grail” of branding: instant recognition and extraordinary retention. Increasingly, the foundation repair company is able to substantiate the claim through its presence on the dynamic proliferation of weblogs. Growing numbers of professional and amateur bloggers are taking time to praise the company mascot, Mr. Happy Crack, and his slogan “A dry crack is a happy crack!” on their websites. The St. Louis-based company, now in its 20th year of business, has locations nationwide. For a business undergoing rapid expansion via franchising, unsolicited online mentions reinforce The Crack Team brand and provide an invaluable sales tool.

The word-of-mouth initially enjoyed by The Crack Team multiplied with the introduction of Mr. Happy Crack in 2002. Shortly after his appearance in company ads, phones at The Crack Team started to ring with t-shirt requests. “That was one of the first indications we were really on to something,” said Bob Kodner, President of the company, and mastermind behind the brand. “Foundation repair is not exactly a glamorous business, but I did think we could make it a cool business by putting our mascot and slogan on apparel.” Soon after, Kodner identified several ways to sustain the momentum.

An anomaly in the field of home repair, The Crack Team's company mascot now boasts his own website, and hot-selling line of apparel. The popularity of the shirts evolved into an entire catalog of items that play off the “dry crack is a happy crack” slogan. “A dry crack” manifested itself in beach towels; “happy cracks” in boxer shorts and thongs. All items are available on Mr. Happy Crack's website, http://www.mrhappycrack.com, which gets 350,000 hits a month, many from devotees simply tuning in to read the "news" items that chronicle the mascot's adventures. Fans include celebrities, professional athletes, and, as evidenced by apparel sales, people from as far as New Zealand, Ireland, and Great Britain. “A reporter from Sports Illustrated called just to find out what we do – he wanted to know if we were aware that the (St. Louis) Cardinals were wearing Mr. Happy Crack t-shirts to batting practice,” said Kodner. “That was a definite buzz for us.”

Entering the term “Mr. Happy Crack” into a search engine on any given day turns up thousands of mentions. Comments originate from a range of bloggers, including travelers who discover Mr. Happy Crack on company vehicles and professionals who monitor the advertising and marketing industry. The mascot has visual presence in the blogosphere, as well. Fans actually photograph The Crack Team print ads to post on photo-sharing sites like Flickr.com.

The irony of a high-tech phenomenon promoting a low-tech service and approach is not lost on The Crack Team. “We always knew we had excellent brand recognition and word-of-mouth, but it is especially gratifying to actually see evidence of these 'conversations,'” notes Kodner.

The trend gives an additional boost to The Crack Team's expansion plans. “Our franchisees are astute businesspeople, and most do independent research into the company before coming on board,” says Tim Church, Director of Franchising for The Crack Team. “When they discover the popularity of our mascot, they experience the power of Mr. Happy Crack, and they know that generates attention that really helps their business.”

Kodner characterizes the unsolicited mentions as an invaluable sales tool. “Companies spend years and literally millions of dollars to create the type of brand we have. We are very fortunate to say we've done it in just a few short years, and we enjoy the fact that it's appreciated by a fan base on a 'grass-roots' level.”

The Crack Team, St. Louis-based foundation repair specialists, has franchise locations nationwide including Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, KS; Boston, MA; Hampstead, NH; and Southampton, NY. For more information about The Crack Team franchise opportunity, contact Tim Church at 866-905-5200. For more information about The Crack Team and Mr. Happy Crack, contact Cary Goldwasser at 866-HAPPY-CRACK.

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Cary Goldwasser
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