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  • Genesis Cosme

The Dynamic Duo Taking Tiktok By Storm

Duo the owl has become a viral sensation among Gen Z-ers using Tiktok, the short-form video sharing platform. Representing the language learning platform, Duolingo, Duo the owl has become an extremely successful example of the importance of a well-developed personality for brands attempting to connect with a younger audience on social media.

As stated in Rolling Stone, Generation Z, representing an estimated $143 billion in annual spending power, maintain more faith in social media than most other generations, but expect brands to take a stand in the values they believe in. They only do business with organizations who they feel they can relate to and build a genuine connection with.


This idea lays the foundation between the relationship of this audience with Duo the owl on Tiktok. The owl first became a viral meme in 2019, as an emblem for the persistent and pushy notifications the app would send to users reminding them to work on their daily language lessons. Since then and especially post-pandemic, Zaria Parvez, the social media manager for the brand, ran with this idea and turned Duo into a lighthearted, and sometimes unhinged, brand character. This has positioned Duolingo as one of the few brands that have been able to successfully tap into the dry online humor of Gen Z-ers with videos as random as calling pop star Dua Lipa “mommy” and proposing to her outside of Madison Square Garden.


Mascots help brands more clearly identify their brand personality, which is ultimately what helped determine the success of Duolingo on Tiktok. However, mascots aren’t the end-all, be-all of the success of a social media strategy. Other brands, such as Wendy’s for example, maintain a distinctly strong voice on Twitter, known for their sarcastic tone and being unafraid to be openly witty to competitors.


Brand personalities like Duolingo’s help customers connect with you much more deeply and develop their trust in you, like they would a friend on social media. Most importantly, brands should learn to tap into the fun and friendliness their product or service is meant to provide in the first place, to remain true to their purpose and their audience.

P.S. I help small businesses tap into their creative potential and look for ways to connect with their audience in fun, modern ways so that they can stand out among giants, like Duolingo. Let's talk about your goals!


Genesis Cosme is a graphic designer and digital marketer based in Miami, Florida. She has over five years of experience in helping small businesses and startups find their creativity to compete amongst giants. Contact Genesis.

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