Skillshare Wants Users to Discover Their Hidden Talents in Quarantine

Series of spots pair celebrity faces with the platform’s most popular teachers

olivia wilde holding a piece of paper
Olivia Wilde learns the art of hand lettering. Skillshare
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

For some, being isolated at home during the pandemic has provided more time to explore new hobbies or discover a hidden creative talent. 

Skillshare is encouraging more people to pursue these outlets with a new digital ad campaign that pairs four celebrities with some of the online learning platform’s popular teachers.

The campaign, titled “Discover Talents Unknown,” stars actor and filmmaker Olivia Wilde, actor Neil Patrick Harris, producer and director Kenya Barris and rapper and actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges participating in classes meant to take them out of their creative comfort zones. 

Skillshare CMO Liana Douillet-Guzmán told Adweek the objective of the new campaign is to show how the platform can open consumers up to new creative possibilities and spotlight the company’s growing community of remote teachers. 

“There is often fear or self-doubt associated with tapping into our creative potential or a misconception that creativity is limited to ‘creatives,’” Douillet-Guzmán said. “This year in particular has been a challenging one, and we want to demonstrate that regardless of your background or profession, there is always an opportunity to celebrate your talents and find new ones.”

The campaign kicks off with a spot featuring Wilde and letterer and type designer Jessica Hische, who teaches Wilde illustrated lettering to help her create a poster for her daughter. 

Additional ads will include Harris learning how to doodle and animate from New York-based artist Jon Burgerman; Barris learning how to visualize a hero’s journey in the form of a superhero self-portrait with art activist ​Nikkolas Smith​; and Ludacris learning the art of food photography from Aundre Larrow. 

“By showing examples of familiar faces exploring new and surprising talents, we hope to demonstrate the power of creativity through learning and discovery and inspire audiences to take the next step on their own creative journeys,” Douillet-Guzmán added. 

The campaign runs through early January, rolling out with 15-minute mini lessons on YouTube, 15- and 30-second spots and a 30-second hero trailer. Skillshare produced the campaign in-house, led by vp of creative Jeremy Perez-Cruz, with production support from Cineaste Films and executive producer Taylor Vandegrift. 

While Skillshare was already reporting growth in early 2020, enrollment during the pandemic has skyrocketed for the platform, which has more than 12 million members and more than 30,000 video classes. Douillet-Guzmán said new members have joined the platform during the pandemic at nearly four times the pre-Covid-19 rate, with existing members watching three times the number of lessons. 

The company also reported a 90% year-over-year growth in Q2 and $71 million raised in a Series D round of funding during the pandemic, with its value increasing seven times since its last round. 

“Online learning platforms have seen a huge uptick in demand during Covid-19, from consumers and investors alike,” Douillet-Guzmán said. “We expect to see continued interest and growth in the space long-term.” Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.