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Spoken Word Artists' Poetry Transcreated by SDL Marketing Solutions Delivers Global Cultural Nuance for Under Armour

More than 700 assets adapted and translated into nine languages in three weeks

Original poetry commissioned by Under Armour (NYSE: UA, UAA) to honor trailblazing female athletes, was adapted into nine languages for use across more than 20 countries in just three weeks by content adaptation specialists SDL Marketing Solutions, a division of SDL (LSE: SDL), leaders in global content creation, management, translation and digital experience. The latest instalment of the global Under Armour campaign ‘Unlike Any’ coincided with the 2018 Winter Olympics from 9-25 February.

Under Armour’s ‘Unlike Any’ campaign, created by Droga5 New York, celebrates female athletes whose achievements are often minimized through gender comparisons. Leading spoken word artists were paired with six Under Armour athletes, including World Alpine Champion Ski Racer, Lindsey Vonn, who competed at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and commissioned to write and perform poetry crafted for and inspired by each. The films, directed by Georgia Hudson through Agile films, combine the words and fluid movements of each athlete – captured in 360-degree rotations.

The poetry that resulted spanned a range of stylistic techniques and forms, including open prose, classic poetic rhyming couplets, alliterative formats and stream of consciousness associations. In order to deconstruct the poetry, SDL’s Language Creative Director Silvia Sanchez worked closely with Under Armour’s creative leadership; and throughout the project with Droga5. Each poem was then assigned to an in-market native copywriter handpicked from the SDL roster against their ability to craft poetic content.

To be truly authentic in appeal and reach, SDL Marketing Solutions was briefed not just to translate but adapt each piece of content – a process SDL calls ‘transcreation’ – for nine different languages. Edits were then produced by SDL Marketing Solutions in over 70 different formats to run across every customer touchpoint including cinema, social media, e-commerce and retail environment.

“This was a beautiful, creative and very personal vision of amazing journeys by these athletes, which we brought to life for Under Armour’s global community,” said Simon Moore, Global VP, SDL Marketing Solutions. “We go to painstaking lengths to ensure the copywriter fits the specific brief, to ensure we deliver the most sensitively nuanced content. This is one of the most challenging creative projects I have ever been involved in, and one of the most satisfying to see come to fruition.”

Over three weeks a total of 700 different assets were ‘transcreated’ into Dutch, French, Canadian French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese PRC and Russian. The campaign end line: Unlike Any had to be retained in English solely throughout – and only three languages needed an additional ‘transcreation’ of the end line: Korean, Chinese PRC and Russian.

SDL’s copywriting team adapted the poetry for the six female athletes – carefully catering for the individual cultural nuances and highly subjective perceptions of sport, race, gender, class and the poetic art form specific to each. The most challenging of the six to ‘transcreate’ was Saul Williams’ poem ‘For Misty’ Copeland, due to the poet’s distinctive and high personal rap style.

The campaign, ‘Unlike Any’, was SDL’s first ‘transcreation’ project for Under Armour, and has since worked on the ‘transcreation’ and adaptation of a number of other high profile campaigns including the global brand messaging and recent launch of the new footwear cushioning technology HOVR and its latest running styles: HOVR Sonic and HOVR Phantom.

The proliferation of media channels and the cost effective delivery of locally relevant – but globally consistent – content across all customer touchpoints is one of the biggest challenges facing brands today. SDL Marketing Solutions is the specialist transcreation and marketing content production division of SDL, helping global businesses overcome the content fragmentation challenge. With more than 1,200 in-country translators and over 600 copywriters, SDL Marketing Solutions can deliver culturally relevant communication faster, perfecting on-brand awareness across every media type and digital touchpoint.

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About SDL

SDL (LSE: SDL) is the global leader in content creation, translation and delivery. For over 25 years we’ve helped companies communicate with confidence and deliver transformative business results by enabling powerful experiences that engage customers across multiple touchpoints worldwide. Are you in the know? Find out why 85 of the top 100 global companies work with and trust us on SDL.com. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.