Busuu ad shows what can go wrong while learning a new language

This is the first work produced for the education app by Motel.

When travelling it’s obviously more convenient to know the language of the land, but even then with some words, things can go awry. That’s what learning app Busuu wants audiences to understand as it aims to grow awareness.

In its first campaign for the brand, creative agency Motel was briefed to “help increase Busuu’s brand exposure and give [it] a stronger voice in Germany and Austria.” In order to do this, the agency chose to focus on its community feature which allows learners to connect and practice with local speakers around the world, aiding their pronunciation, spelling and grammar before using their new-found language for real.

The spot, which will run across Europe, features a few different scenes featuring disastrous dialogues including a German-speaking man making a phone call in a taxi while practicing what to say to his mother-in-law—who he is on his way to meet—about the garish jumper she has knitted him. Those trying to assist him fall foul in their own place of work while correcting his English along the way.

Alongside the main 40-second spot, 10-second edits will also air, featuring messaging around the app’s 50% discount promotion, the ability to learn up to 12 different languages and get tips from a global community and another around the app’s support to learn languages with millions of people around the world.

An ad for a universal audience

In a statement, the director Claas Ortmann, commented: “The most fun for me as a director was visualizing and totally getting under the skin of the unique Busuu community. This led us to show the interesting characters in the film in comical situations—the kind that we could all find ourselves in when learning a language. It really highlighted the human aspect at the heart of this cool app.”

He added that because he was creating a film for a European audience that was completely in English, it needed to be “uniquely understandable” for those who cannot speak the language. To get over this, Ortmann revealed he tested it on his parents—it worked.

Media buying has been handled by Bountiful Cow which will run initially in Germany and Austria this month before rolling out elsewhere in Europe later this year. Social media activity will run across Facebook and Instagram with further advertising on YouTube.

Lee Tan, chief creative officer and co-founder of Motel, explained: “The Busuu app’s community means you can get feedback from locals before trying out a phrase in the real world. All language learners know that can be pretty terrifying. We had the pleasure of bringing that to life—with the help of a ridiculous jumper.”

January 26, 2022