Duolingo’s meme-famous green owl mascot can remind you to complete your language classes all the way in the metaverse.
The language-learning app partnered with MediaMonks to amplify its growing unofficial presence on Roblox, where users have been creating games and avatars featuring the brand’s beloved owl mascot. Many of these games have received positive reception and millions of views on YouTube.
To build on the momentum, Duolingo launched a game jam on Roblox where platforms’ developers could submit games featuring the app’s TikTok-famous mascot. Twenty games that made it into the official hub include Flappy Owl, a variation of the popular 2013 game Flappy Bird, and Duo Galaxy, a game that explores outer space.
Roblox’s user base gives Duolingo the opportunity to connect with audiences that have yet to learn a second language. Eventually, the company sees an opportunity to expand its presence across different Roblox worlds with digital Duolingo merch.
“Duolingo’s mission is really about making the best education world and making it universally available. That usually means connecting with new audiences, ones that we haven't reached yet or connected with,” shared James Kuczynski, Duolingo’s creative director. “We wanted to take this love that we've already seen and amplify that by jumping into the space and creating our own our own activation.”
In addition to the Roblox activation, Duolingo’s owl also made its debut on Decentraland, where a gigantic digital version appeared on a main area with a sign that calls out specific users to finish their language lessons. It targets a slightly older audience.
Hype around the green owl began growing in 2019, when Duolingo published an April Fool’s video featuring a real-life gigantic owl reminding users to complete their language lessons. Soon after, social media flooded with memes such as “Spanish or vanish” and funny variations on Duolingo’s notifications.
At the end of 2021, Duolingo began incorporating the meme culture frenzy around the owl in its marketing campaigns. This included the launch of Duolingo’s TikTok account, which has over four and a half-million subscribers.
As it enters the metaverse, Duolingo is looking to observe and measure audience engagement and behaviors. Kuczynski said that in the first few days, more than 4 million Roblox users have visited Duolingo’s game hub on Roblox organically.
“We thought this would be an innovative way to give us a cool factor amongst this audience, so that when potentially Duolingo does come up for them to experience, there's this inherent notion of, ‘Oh, I know about them,” he said.
For now, Duolingo will experiment on both platforms to see where engagement can scale and which metaverse spaces hold potential for future activations.
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.