Duolingo never misses a chance to tap pop culture for marketing inspiration, and its latest limited-time offer will thrill the world’s fast-growing anime audiences.
The app is teaming up with Crunchyroll, owned by Sony, which serves up anime and magna programming in 200 countries, offering a new learning module with 50 phrases inspired by fan-favorite series.
Duolingo, based in Pittsburgh, says the effort is partly to celebrate the sixth anniversary of its Japanese language offer. But it’s also a nod to anime’s increasing cultural relevance.
“We know that entertainment is a big motivator for learning a new language,” a Duolingo spokesperson tells Marketing Daily. “Authentic content like anime exposes learners to the real-life usage of the language, including slang and cultural references. By learning the language, you’re also able to experience the content in its intended form.”
The genre’s inherent playfulness makes it an apt fit for Duolingo, infusing marketing efforts and lessons. “Duolingo is known for its silly sentences, so our team had a lot of fun weaving vocabulary and phrases from popular anime shows into our lessons. We’ve also added new vocabulary that covers pop culture topics like 'watching anime,’ 'reading manga,’ and 'listening to J-pop,” adds the spokesperson.
Crunchyroll is hoping the effort will draw more people into anime. And Duolingo hopes pairing lessons with specific phrases will help learners immerse themselves in languages, making the lessons more engaging.
Duolingo, which claims to be the world’s most downloaded education app, is free. This promotion pushes Super Duolingo, its ad-free premium version. Those who use the free version of Crunchyroll can get a one-month free trial of Super Duolingo, while those who subscribe to Crunchyroll’s premium product get a two-month free trial.
The campaign is running on both brand’s social media channels and within their apps.
Crunchyroll is pushing the effort by rounding up anime series that are full of the easiest-to-understand words, including “Bananya,” which stars a banana-dwelling kitten, and “Nichijou - My Ordinary Life,” a comedy that follows three ordinary girls.
Duolingo offers classes in more than 40 languages, from Spanish and Chinese to Navajo and Yiddish. It also occasionally leverages made-up languages from pop culture, including High Valyrian for “Game of Thrones” fans and Klingon for Trekkies.