Image of hand puppet Wally Vandehand paired with text: Everyone Loves Wally; Handy Hygiene Tips

A star is born

“Handy Hygiene Tips with Wally VandeHand” was the merger of multiple ideas we pitched the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in response to their request for a humorous, informative campaign focused on infection prevention.

A late-night talk show format gave us the opportunity to have the type of fun that happens in that environment while welcoming guests who could provide practical infection prevention information. And as the body part most associated with the spread of germs, a hand puppet was a natural selection for the host.

Wally quickly became a star, earning accolades from his fan base, our client and on the awards circuit.


We introduced Wally throughout the state of Wisconsin during a six-month campaign targeting health care workers/facilities and the general public with:

Digital Display


Online Video

Social Media

"Black Light Surprise"

Wally sees more than he hopes to when taking a closer look at where germs live.

"This or That?"

We pit soap against hand sanitizer to see which one comes out on top.

Bring Wally to life:
Hairless and a handy pun

The appearance: We considered several iterations for Wally’s appearance including a side view and a version with hair. In the end, we kept it simple with a straight-on view complemented by a simple “W” adorning a sweatshirt to give Wally an All-American look. What a stud.

The name: We sought to give our new star a moniker that was, above all, memorable. “Wally” felt inviting, just like the character we intended to create. When it came to the last name, there was no avoiding having a little fun with a pun!

On set: behind the scenes

Our partners at Hinckley Studios nailed it in bringing Wisconsin to life on the “Handy Hygiene Tips” set to make Wally look and feel right at home. Click a circle to learn about a set piece.


Too many people are using cleaning products wrong. Our health expert sets us straight.

"Dirty Little Secret"

You’d be surprised what everyone’s touchin’; tips to help protect yourself.

Johnny Beehner: the man behind the hand

Our very own copywriter, Johnny Beehner, is a natural behind the mic touring the country as a standup comedian. Turns out, he’s just as great scrunching up his 6-foot-5 frame under a tiny table to bring Wally to life with the perfect blend of humor and well-timed hand gestures.

Q: How did you find Wally’s voice?
A: I just listened to my wife, a lifelong Wisconsin native, speak naturally, and did my best to reproduce her beloved Wisco dialect.

Q: What was it like hand-acting from underneath the set?
A: Other than the hand cramping that still comes and goes, it was great. Our partners at Hinckley Studios made it REALLY comfortable for me, with a foam mat, fan, some lights, and monitors so I could see what I was doing.

Q: Wally sure is handsome.
A: That’s not really a question, but thank you. So am I.

"Tip of the Day"

Too many people are using cleaning products wrong. Our health expert sets us straight.

"Protecting Meemaw"

Life doesn’t stop when we’re sick. Wally’s got advice to safely move forward when not feeling your best.

A successful campaign, hands down


Wisconsin Department of Health Services website visits as a result of the campaign


Awards won at the Madison Advertising Association Awards, including a Judge’s Choice honor

3 million

Times Wally’s infection prevention message was seen across the campaign

“This has been the most unique and fun health education effort I’ve worked on thus far with DHS. I couldn’t be more proud of the great team that brought Wally to life!”

Mariah Welke, Public Health Educator, Wisconsin Department of Health Services