Content, Engagement, Entertainment, and ROI through Wally Polyp

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: April 4, 2014

This is Wally. Wally is a polyp.


On top of looking utterly disgusting, Wally is crass, annoying with his thick Jersey accent, and will do everything in his power to dissuade the 50-somethings of Northeast Wisconsin from following through on their recommended turn of the century colonoscopy.

But so far, he hasn’t been successful. No, Wally the Polyp hasn’t turned people away from the taboo topic of colonoscopies. In fact, he’s done quite the opposite for ThedaCare’s colon cancer awareness campaign.

Since he was born two years ago to date, Wally has resulted in 24 colonoscopy appointments scheduled, gained 2,421 friends on Facebook and Twitter, and encouraged more than 8,000 social media goers in Northeast Wisconsin to actively talk about the value in having a colonoscopy.

Why is Wally so successful (despite his nasty exterior)?

  1. He has personality. Content that presents your brand says a lot more about your company than service or product-centric content. Explaining what your brand is, who it serves and how it came about are strategies for conveying brand personality to your audience. Wally is successful because he doesn’t push “scheduling a colonoscopy,” he creates compelling content related to colon cancer awareness that is imminently shareable.
  2. He knows that fun is the best way to get people talking. Though rare, it is possible to grow your Facebook page and push traffic to your website without spending a dime. How? Through content that engages people. Wally has gotten his best organic reach and the most fans on highly engaging posts. “Changing consumer behavior on a dime is incredibly difficult. It’s much easier to persuade behavior over time by consistently providing relevant information and turning your company or social page into a valuable resource.”
  3. He is everywhere his audience is. When it comes to  multi-platform strategy, the watchword is “thoughtful.” It’s easy to do more harm than good by slapping content intended for one platform onto another. Always think about the context in which your user is consuming, and map backwards. Strategic marketing means finding yourself everywhere your users are.
  4. He’d tell you: “It’s about the consumer, stupid.” Wally knows what it means to know his audience. We “can’t over-emphasize the importance of doing your homework at the beginning or a campaign in order to really understand your audience — and of continually asking them for feedback that you can incorporate into your future roadmap.”
  5. He keeps it simple and moves fast. When it comes down to Wally’s success, it’s all about how he relates to people. He keeps his quips simple and bite sized, but always focused on engagement, entertainment, and telling an interesting story.

At Envano, we’re a fan of Wally. Our work with ThedaCare in promoting colon cancer awareness and colonoscopy education is a fun run, filled with dirty toilet jokes and interesting midnight meetings on having your plumbing checked.

But the greatest thing Wally has taught us and can stand to teach a lot of other companies is this: The “PR” approach is dead. People don’t have time for companies who spend their efforts on social pushing product and caring only about themselves. If you want to find tangible business success in online community, work to share content that is first valuable to people and second branded. Only then will you create conversations and develop relationships that eventually translate to sales and brand advocacy.