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Duolingo Brings Back Bathroom Reading with New Toilet Paper

A popular refrain is that the only things certain in this life are death and taxes, but there are assuredly more things we collectively have in common, like using the restroom on occasion. Time was, many would have a small assortment of reading materials at the ready near the porcelain, some light “bathroom reading.” Nowadays, dead tree volumes in the WC are less common, with smartphones being a thing we can use to occupy the mind while dropping a deuce.

Language learning app Duolingo are no strangers to the time-for-two-toilet-timeout, as surely users of the service have busted out their phone to take a quick lesson from the platform. That's why they've teamed up with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam and unveiled their latest learning innovation for those with little to no time.

Duolingo is bringing back off-screen distractions while sitting on the stone throne with a toilet paper line printed with some of the app’s signature phrases. The 3-ply TP is soft, screen-free, and designed for English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese speakers. Wrapped in bright outer paper, people around the world can now pick up useful phrases such as “Tengo esta cebolla y la voy a usar,” (I have an onion and I’m going to use it) in Spanish, or helpful business phrases such as “我今天不想上班” in Chinese, which means “I don’t want to go to work today.”

“Duolingo understands that one of the most common barriers to learning a language is how much time it takes," said W+K Amsterdam planning director Thom Dinsdale in a press release. "However, studies have found that people spend an average of 14 minutes a day sitting on the toilet. Developing a new product to help learners utilize this downtime was a natural extension of its multi-platform offering.”

In partnership with WeWork, Duolingo is kicking off the product launch by installing the toilet paper rolls in 18 Chinese locations, and a select few early adopters will also receive the new toilet paper. If successful, Duolingo plans to roll out the program in more countries.

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