Samuel Stapp – Spec Ad Campaign for Duolingo Math

For my senior project, I entered an annual advertising competition called New Bloods, which is organized by D&AD. The competition is meant to help students and aspiring creatives build their portfolios by giving them real-life creative briefs set by real-life clients to be judged on. It’s up to the students to choose a brief from one of the clients and execute a speculative campaign that answer the brief.

I chose to work on the creative brief set by Duolingo Math. This was the ask:

Create a response that draws in new audiences (ages 45+) to download, and stay motivated with Duolingo Math.

Before I started working on any creative assets for this campaign, I spent a long time doing research. I spent quite a few days reading and rereading the creative brief set by Duolingo Math. I highlighted sentences and phrases that seemed like clues to me. I wanted to be very thorough in this stage so I would know what data and insights I should look for later on.

Once I felt like I had the creative brief dedicated to my mind, I started my research. I wanted my advertising campaign to connect well with my audience of 45yrs+ but I felt like that was a very large age group to target. I decided to narrow down my targeting to the Gen X generation. After hours of scouring the internet and skimming through articles and reports, I finally found an audience insight that spoke to me.

In many of the articles and reports that I read, the fact that Gen Xers are big savers was often mentioned. In one report, it said that 88% of Gen Xers join loyalty programs to save money. Other articles stated the obsession that Gen Xers have with coupons, discounts and deals.

After learning more about my audience, I moved on to the brainstorming stage. The goal was to connect this newfound audience insight with the challenge of the brief and the pain-points that my audience faces with math in general. Here is the synopsis of my campaign idea:

To make the campaign more attention grabbing, I had the idea to partner Duolingo Math with Honey, a browser extension that automatically applies coupons to your online purchases. If the campaign involved rewarding adults for solving real-life math problems, I thought Honey would be a great brand to be involved in the rewarding. The name of the campaign will be the Super Savers Club from Duolingo Math x Honey.

The next thing to do was conceptualize a visual aspect for the campaign. What would pique the interest of my audience and challenge them to solve math questions? To fit the theme of savings and coupons, I decided to disguise math equations as discount promotions that adults could solve. So the audience journey for this campaign was simplified into: Scan a QR code (which will be found on OOH advertisements), Solve the equation, Get rewarded.

The next thing to do was design the OOH (out-of-home) advertisements that the audience would be able to see and scan. The idea was to disguise math equations as discount promotions that my audience could solve and therefore be rewarded (and encouraged to download duolingo math). Here are billboard mockups of the final designs:

The next step in the audiences journey:

Here’s a gallery of the final graphics without the mockups:

Because of the nature of this project, the outcome cannot be measured until after the competition. I have been measuring my efforts in this campaign by comparing my work with what has been asked and outlined in the creative brief (which can be found below). If it were up to me to judge my project, I would say that I met my goals and exceeded expectations in finding a creative solution in response to the brief.