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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

ADdicted: Duolingo's Bad Joke

I got very excited when the teaser trailer for "Love Language" showed up in my LinkedIn feed on March 29th, 2023.


"Love Language" was a teaser for a show from language-learning app Duolingo that was to appear on the Peacock network.


I wasn't excited because I'm a fan of reality shows; I'm generally not.


I was excited because I thought this was an example of a brand taking a bold, creative approach to content marketing that would not only showcase the features and benefits of its product but also do so in a way that people would actually want to watch. This would be a rare accomplishment: most content marketing from brands is very, very bad.


Here's the teaser for the show so you can judge the appeal for yourself:


I was so excited about this bold idea that I shared the video and the message below with my 11,700+ Linkedin followers...

 
 

Terrific, right?


Except it turned out to be Duolingo's 2023 April Fool's Day Prank.


(Which, it should be noted, was released two days early. April Fool pranks are only supposed to happen on April 1st, folks...)


But I admit it, Duolingo got me... April Fools on me!


I think the joke's on Duolingo, though.


Because this was actually a terrific idea.


Partnering with Peacock to create a fun (and relatively inexpensive) show that would demonstrate how learning a new language can help you better connect with people might have been the best piece of marketing Duolingo could ever hope to create.


But they weren't bold enough to go through with it.


The brand's mascot is a green owl.


Perhaps now it should be a green chicken.


 

P.S. When I posted this on LinkedIn, a woman I've never met left a comment that said, "How could you not know this is a joke? A clever one but clearly a joke." Well, I had four reasons why I was fooled into thinking this was authentic. If you're interested, you can read the entire mini-debate here.

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