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Wieden Kennedy Amsterdam, Final Frontier and Le Cube Make Languages Fun for Duolingo


Duolingo admits language learning is f*&$ing hard and encourages newly-elected US officials to keep trying

Wieden Kennedy Amsterdam, Final Frontier and Le Cube Make Languages Fun for Duolingo

Duolingo, the world’s #1 language learning app, has partnered up with creative agency and longtime fans of the product, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, to encourage people around the world to take the plunge and learn a language this New Year.

We all know that New Year brings the all too familiar resolutions list, but it’s not an easy task taking up a new language. It can be humiliating, frustrating, daunting and even with the best intentions, sooner or later life or laziness gets in the way. That’s why Duolingo worked with W+K Amsterdam to create its first global campaign, Make it Fun, recognising the hard task ahead while reminding people that with its product they can learn in a fun, free and effective way.

The global campaign stars Duolingo’s ever-encouraging mascot Duo the owl and his animated friends. Together they deliver the truth about language learning through the medium of animated musical theater. Playing out via a huge range of assets across TV, digital, display, in-app and social, the lovable cast of characters face the onslaught of setbacks and stumbles that often come with learning a language. Through these torturous moments, an upbeat track reminds us that while learning a language is hard – with fun (and Duolingo), it can be done. In the words of the song, “Language learning is hard, so we made it fun.”

Blake Harrop, W+K Amsterdam managing director, says: “Our agency is full of polyglots and language learners, and we’ve been fans of the Duolingo product and their mission for a long time. It’s exciting to work with a company with such a clear mission, and to help them bring the benefits of language learning to an even bigger global audience.”

Developing the idea during US election season, it became clear that American politicians were a particularly relevant audience for the campaign. With around 41 million Americans speaking Spanish at home (source: US Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey), many politicians spoke a few words of the language on the campaign trail, or attempted to at least. But Duolingo feared that these valiant attempts at language learning would fall by the wayside once the votes were cast, as they have in the past.

So, as newly-elected officials gather in Washington DC to begin their time in office, Duolingo is targeting this audience very specifically. A message of encouragement will address them in The Washington Post’s Capitol Hill edition, which is exclusively delivered to subscribers in the Senate and House office buildings today. To help spread the message even further, the same line has been printed on a Washington DC bus driving past government offices along its route.

Ane Santiago Quintas, W+K Amsterdam copywriter, says: “During the recent US election races we witnessed politicians attempting (with moderate success) to speak Spanish in order to garner the support of Spanish-speaking voters. We wanted to acknowledge this effort but also encourage them to keep learning beyond the election. So in traditional Duo fashion we decided to send them a passive-aggressive yet encouraging push notification to make our point.”

Hola Elected Officials felt like a natural extension of the global campaign, feeding off a relevant cultural trend. The aim was to encourage politicians to keep (or even start) learning Spanish to help them connect with their Spanish-speaking constituents.

Luis Von Ahn, CEO and co-founder at Duolingo, says: “Language has the power to bring people together. With 41 million Americans speaking Spanish at home, we wanted to encourage newly elected officials in particular to start or keep learning Spanish in order to form deeper connections with their Spanish-speaking constituents. As an immigrant to the US from a Spanish-speaking country myself, this also means a lot to me personally, and I hope our message can help build stronger bonds between voters and their elected officials.”

To further amplify the message of this campaign, Duolingo has partnered with the grassroots political organization Voto Latino Foundation. The organisation not only focuses on educating, engaging and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, but a significant part of their work is dedicated to promoting accountability among the elected officials to meet the needs of their constituents and communities. This goes hand in hand with the goal for Hola Elected Officials: encouraging politicians representing Spanish-speaking Americans to stay accountable and on top of their language learning as one way of creating stronger bonds with those they serve.

"Voto Latino has worked tirelessly to engage lawmakers on the need for culturally-relevant outreach and communication with the Latinx community," says Voto Latino communications manager, Danny Turkel. “In order to properly represent us and our communities, our representatives must understand how we talk about our hopes and obstacles on a daily basis. Learning a few lines of broken Spanish is not enough. By partnering with Duolingo, Voto Latino hopes to make it easier for those in power to talk to and get to know us.”

The Hola Elected Officials message is printed on 11th February 2021 Washington Post Capitol Hill edition, and the bus will be driving with the message from 8th until 21st February 2021.

Make It Fun, the global campaign, launched on 26th December 2020 and is rolling out in Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. See the films here in English, Portugueseand Spanish.

Make it Fun


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Genres: Animation

Final Frontier, Wed, 17 Feb 2021 16:06:54 GMT