What would you do if, when walking down the streets of NYC, an adult holding a large green sign emblazoned with the words “Please adopt me” approached you? Well, most of us would be understandably intrigued — and that was the whole point.
On September 21st, Duolingo launched an experiential guerrilla marketing campaign with the help of the creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address to raise awareness for its family plan. Dubbed the “Adoption Center” campaign, 50 adults took to the streets of NYC with the hope of being “adopted” into someone’s Duolingo family plan with logins to spare.
Michaela Kron, the Director of U.S. Marketing for Duolingo, recently told AdAge that:
“Overall, we really want to raise awareness of our family plan as a fun, cost-effective way to make the most of Duolingo’s subscription offering. In a time when we’re seeing many services crack down on password and account sharing, we wanted to take a different approach that highlights the power of learning together on one Duolingo account—because it really does take you further.”
This creative, fun campaign’s goal of manufacturing interest in the brand’s family plan — which includes “the benefits of Super, the premium subscription” and “an ad-free experience, unlimited hearts, and a monthly streak repair” — was definitely achieved.
Of course, the campaign was filmed and we can see the participants interacting with regular consumers and encouraging them to scan the QR codes on their signs — which took them to the brand’s dedicated campaign landing page.
The campaign leaned hard into the comical, somewhat absurd nature of full-grown people begging strangers to adopt them or shouting “I just want to learn Spanish!” off the side of a bridge. It was amusing and definitely attention-grabbing.
But, once you arrive at the brand’s website, the true goal of the campaign is made clear, as it reads:
Source: Duolingo Adoption Center
And, as every successful marketing campaign must be in 2022, the “Duolingo Adoption Center” campaign was also promoted on the brand’s social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
We see all of you on here asking to get added to a Duolingo Family Plan. 👀— Duolingo (@duolingo) September 20, 2022
Introducing the #DuolingoAdoptionCenter – a way for adults to connect with those who have unused spots in their Family Plans. Because you learn more when you learn together.
Make your flyer. ⬇️
However, the campaign’s goal wasn’t only to drum up awareness for the brand’s family plan — but also to juxtapose Duolingo’s much more generous approach to subscription models with other companies.
As Maia Vines points out in her AdAge piece, it comes at an opportune time, seeing that “other brands such as Netflix have gotten serious about limiting password sharing by imposing additional user fees.”
Clearly, Duolingo wants to highlight the features that set it apart from other e-learning platforms — as well as adjacent entertainment brands. And it succeeded. The “Duolingo Adoption Center” campaign took a joyful approach to marketing and remained true to the brand’s overall values of making learning fun and universally accessible.
Of the campaign, Kron said that the brand is “hopeful about the connections that can be made among our learners, both those looking to get ‘adopted’ into a family plan and those with extra room in their family plan.”
We’ll be interested to see if Duolingo’s family plan subscriptions increase over the next few weeks due to this fantastic campaign — as well as keep our eyes peeled for the brand’s next creative ad.
Cover Image Source: Duolingo Press Kit