Preview Case

Promotions Medley!

•MARS CONFECTIONERY LAUNCHES A £140 MILLION European advertising campaign in a bid to maximize its appeal to Europe's male teenage market.'

'Sony doubles its pan-European advertising spend to back its new video games system. Playstation, with press and TV campaigns that will feature comic testimonies of people who have had their lives changed by playing Playstation.'

The UK's third largest charily, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), spends £1.5 million on direct marketing and will consider direct response television following a successful trial campaign - in which more than £55 million in voluntary income was received.'

'IBM will use generic advertising for its personal computers. To start off with, corporate advertising will emphasize IBM as a brand rather than a series of products. IBM also will run a £12 million pan-European advertising campaign for its new operating system.1

'Spanish designer Paco Rabanne launches XS pour Elle, a women's version of its XS men's fragrance. TV advertisements break simultaneously in France, the UK and Belgium.'

'Ready Brek, an instant hot oat eereal from Weetabix, teams up with Disney Home Video for an in-pack promotion. Children collect a set of eight moving picture cards based on original illustrations from the Disney film, Snow White and the Sevan 7te>ar/is, The cards become available before the video of the film goes on sale. Children can also send away for a J 2-page booklet in which to mount eards for £1.50 and one completed order form. Over the period of the in-pack promotion campaign. Ready Brek packs also offer ""10 per cent extra free"". A national TV ad campaign focuses on the Snow Wliite promotion and a full publicity programme is implemented to raise awareness of the video release.'

'Richard Branson's everywhere - the beard, the smile, the stories about this irrepressibly optimistic businessman leaping out of every newspaper, television and radio station, the publication of the man's second biography in five years. Virgin is his brand and that is going places too - Virgin launches into vodka, Virgin takes on Coca-Cola, Virgin gets FM frequency in London ... Radio 1 listeners vote Virgin's Branson the man they would most like to rewrite the ten commandments.' Branson shows how a well-lubricated PR (public relations) machine can work wonders for the company's leader and its brands.

These accounts are just a few examples reflecting the array of nonpersonal mass communication tools that organizations use to create awareness for their products or services, to secure greater support for their brands, to build or strengthen company image or to generate sales.'


1. Identify the range of mass-marketing techniques that marketers use to reach target customers.

2. What are their specific roles?

3. What are the major decisions involved in developing a mass-marketing campaign?

4. What is an integrated communications strategy and how might firms benefit from pursuing such a strategy?

5. What are the advantages and limitations of pan-European campaigns?

6. Consider the barriers to effective implementation of Europe-wide promotions and discuss the implications for international marketing managers.


The questions in the preview case get us to think about the alternative massmarketing options open to marketers seeking to communicate with their target customers and to evoke desired responses. In this chapter, we address the major non-personal forms of communication and promotion. Personal selling is discussed in Chapter 20, whereas direct marketing and online approaches are examined in Chapter 22.

Companies must do more than offer good products or services. They must inform consumers about product or service benefits and carefully position these in consumers' minds. To do this, they must skilfully use the mass-promotion tools of advertising, sales promotion and public relations. We take a closer look at each of these tools i n this chapter.


We define advertising as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or services through mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television or radio hy an identified sponsor. Advertising is used by many organizations to communicate specific messages about themselves, their products and services, or their modes of behaviour to a predefined target audience, in order to stimulate a response from the audience. The response may be perceptual in nature: for example, the consumer develops specific views or opinions about the product or brand, or these feelings are altered by the ad. The response could be behavioural: for instance, the consumer buys the product or increases the amount that he or she buys. Advertisers that sponsor advertisements include not only business firms, but also non-profit and social institutions such as charities, museums and religious organizations that promote causes to various target publics. Advertising is a good way to inform and persuade, whether the purpose is to build brand preference for Nokia mobile phones worldwide, or to motivate a nation's young consumers to drink more milk, or to encourage smokers to give up the habit.

In the European Union, advertisers run up an annual advertising bill of more than eeu45.4 billion. As recession in Europe lifts, and national economies revive, advertising spend in most EU countries has been forecast to rise towards the end of the 1990s. However, advertisers will remain cautious in terms of how best to use their advertising budget in order to achieve desired communication goals.2

advertising j-lnv paid form tifivm-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods or serwces by an identified sponsor.

Important Decisions in Advertising-

Marketing management must make five important decisions when developing an advertising programme (see Figure 19.1).

Setting Objectives

The first step in developing an advertising programme is to set advertising objectives. These objectives should be based on decisions about the target market,

794 * Chapter 19 Mass Communications: Advertising, Sales Promotion and Public Relations

Figure 19.1

Main advertising derisions advertising objective A specific communication task to be accomplished with a specific target audience during a specific period oftime.

informative advertising Advertising used to inform consumers about a new product or feature and to build primary demand.

persuasive advertising Advertising used to built! selective demand for a brand by persuading consumers thai it offers the best quality far their money.

comparison advertising (knocking copy) Advertising that compares one brand directly or indirectly tu one or more other brands.

positioning and marketing mix, which define the job that advertising must achieve in the total marketing programme.

An advertising objective is a specific communication task to be accomplished with a specific target audience during a specific period of time,3 Advertising objectives can be classified by purpose: that is, whether their aim is to inform, persuade or remind. Table 19.1 lists examples of each of these objectives.

Informative advertising is used heavily when introducing a new product category. In this case, the objective is to build primary demand. Thus producers of compact disc players first informed consumers of the sound and convenience benefits of CDs. Persuasive advertising becomes more important as competition increases. Here, the company's objective is to build selective demand. For example, when compact disc players became established and accepted, Sony began trying to persuade consumers that its brand offered the best quality for their money.

Some persuasive advertising has become comparison advertising, in which a company directly or indirectly compares its brand with one or more other brands;

Among the most frequent users of comparison advertising or knocking copy is the car industry. In the UK, Korean car maker Hyundai sought to raise awareness of its cars with a series of light-hearted efforts: 'Even a kettle has a longer guarantee than Rover'. Another example was the war of words between two yellow-fat manufacturers. Van den Berghs, part of Unilever, provoked a battle with a campaign for its low-fat spread, Delight, that made taste comparisons with St Ivel Gold, produced by Unigate, and parodied some of its ad lines. St Ivel retaliated with an ad for its Gold brand that targeted Flora, another Van Den Berghs product, and turned one of Flora's catchlines, 'For your blooming generation', into 'For your ballooning generation'. The argument was that Flora contained twice as much fat as Gold, This led to a telling-off from the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on grounds that, as Flora was a different type of spread (a full-fat margarine), St Ivel was not comparing like with like. The ASA finally urged both advertisers to refrain from using the approach.4

There arc potential dangers in using comparison advertising, especially when comparisons are unfair and escalate into denigration of a rival's brand. The

Table 19.1

Possible advertising objectives

To inform

• Telling the market about a new product.

• Suggesting new uses for a product.

• Informing the market of a price change.

• Explaining how the product works.

To persuade

• Building brand preference.

• Encouraging switching to your brand.

• Changing buyer perceptions of product attributes.

To remind

• Reminding buyers that the product may lie needed in the near future.

• Reminding buyers where to buy the product.

Describing available services. Correcting false impressions. Reducing buyers' fears. Building a company image.

Persuading buyers to purchase now. Persuading buyers to receive a sales call.

Keeping the product in buyers' minds during off seasons.

Maintaining top-of-mind product awareness.

approach is legal in both the United States and United Kingdom, but in some other European countries it is banned. Belgium and Germany regard it as tantamount to unfair competition. For example, a relatively innocuous Carlsberg commercial with the tagline 'Probably the best lager in the world' could not be run in those countries because it implicitly identified with products offered by rivals. Similarly, the car-hire company A vis's 'We try harder' ad would not be allowed in Germany because, although nobody is named, Hertz, the no. 1, is presumed to be the only real competitor. Efforts to produce a European directive to harmonize rules on comparative advertising across the EU have been relatively unsuccessful to date. Until such a directive is issued, however, advertisers in the region must remain sensitive to individual nations' codes of practice and legislation. This style of communication will probably always exist in one form or another, as most advertising is essentially comparative - after all, the aim of the advertiser is to persuade the consumer to respond to one product offering rather than another.5

Reminder advertising is important for mature products as it keeps consumers thinking about the product. Expensive Coca-Cola ads on television are often designed to remind people about Coca-Cola, not merely to inform or persuade them.

Advertisers might also seek to assure existing customers that they have made the right choice. Eor example, car firms might use reinforcement advertising that depicts satisfied owners enjoying some special feature of their new car.

The choice of advertising objective is based on a good understanding of the current marketing situation. If the product is new and the company is not the market leader, but the brand is superior to the leading brand, then the advertising objective is to inform and convince the market of the brand's superiority. On the other hand, if the market is mature and brand usage is declining, the advertising objective would probably be to stimulate sales by persuading customers to increase frequency of usage, or by encouraging competitors' customers to switch.

reminder advertising Advertising used to keep consumers thinking about a product

Comparative advertising: this ad reflects the ''war of words' between St Ivel (Gold) and Van den Berghs (Flora).

Setting the Advertising Budget

After determining its advertising objectives, the company next sets its advertising budget for each product. The role of advertising is to create demand for a product. The company wants to spend the amount needed to achieve the sales goal. Four commonly used methods for setting the advertising budget were discussed in Chapter 18. Here we describe some specific factors that should be considered when setting the advertising budget:

• Stage in the product life cycle. New products typically need large advertising budgets to build awareness and to gain consumer trial. Mature brands usually require lower budgets as a ratio to sales.

• Market share. High-market-share brands usually need more advertising spending as a percentage of sales than do low-share brands. Building the market or taking share from competitors requires larger advertising spending than does simply maintaining current share.

• Competition and clutter. In a market with many competitors and high advertising spending, a brand must advertise more heavily to be heard above the noise in the market.

• Advertisingfrequency. When many repetitions are needed to present the brand's message to consumers, the advertising budget must be larger.

• Product differentiation. A brand that elosely resembles other brands in its product class (coffee, laundry detergents, chewing gum, beer, soft drinks) requires heavy advertising to set it apart. When the product differs greatly from competitors, advertising can be used to point out the differences to consumers/'

Setting the advertising budget is no easy task. How does a company know if it is spending the right amount? Some critics maintain that large consumer packaged-goods firms tend to overspend on advertising, while industrial companies generally underspend on advertising. They also claim that, on the one hand, the large consumer companies use lots of image advertising extensively without really knowing its effects, overspending as a form of 'insurance' against not spending enough. Furthermore, what these companies decide to spend is based on traditional rules of thumb, such as what can be afforded or normal industry advertising/sales ratios, which have little local validity.7 On the other hand, industrial advertisers tend to rely too heavily on their sales forces to bring in orders, underestimating the power of the company and product image in preselling industrial customers. Thus they do not spend enough on advertising to build customer awareness and knowledge.

How much impact does advertising really have on consumer buying and brand loyalty? A research study analyzing household purchases of frequently bought consumer products came up with the following surprising conclusion:

Advertising appears effective in increasing the volume purchased by loyal buyers but less effective in winning new buyers. For loyal buyers, high levels of exposure per week may be unproductive because of a leveling off of ad effectiveness ... Advertising appears unlikely to have some cumulative effect that leads to loyalty ... Features, displays, and especially price have a stronger impact on response than does advertising.8

These findings did not sit well with the advertising"" community, and several people attacked the study's data and methodology. They claimed that the study measured mostly short-run sales effects. Thus it favoured pricing" and sales promotion activities, which tend to have more immediate impact. In contrast, most advertising takes many months, or even years, to build strong brand positions and consumer loyalty. These long-run effects are difficult to measure. However, recent research, which examined data over a ten-year period, found that advertising" docs produce long-term sales growth, even two years after a campaign ends.1* This debate underscores the fact that measuring the results of advertising spending remains a poorly understood subject.

Companies can use advertising-expenditure models to help them decide how much to spend. An early model developed by Vidale and Wolfe called for a larger advertising budget - the higher the sales-response rate, the higher the rate at which customers forget the advertising and brand, and the higher the untapped sales potential.111 Such n model does not, however, consider competitors' advertising and whether or not the firm's ads are effective. An adaptive-control mode! lias the firm experimenting with different rates of expenditure and measuring" sales response to different levels of spending. Suppose the company has set an advertising expenditure rate based on its most recent information on sales response. It spends this rate in all of its markets except in a subset of 2n markets randomly chosen. In n test markets, the firm spends at a lower rate, and in the other n, a higher rate. This provides sales response to low, medium and high rates of advertising spend that is used to update the parameters of the sales-response function currently used. The updated sales-response function is used to determine the best advertising budget for the next period.11

Advertising Strategy

Advertising" strategy covers two major elements: creating the advertising messages and selecting the advertising media. In the past, most companies developed messages and media independently. Media planning was often seen as secondary to the message creation process. First the creative department created the ad; then the media department selected the best media for carrying the advertisements to the desired target audiences. Separation of the functions often caused friction between creatives and media planners.

Today, however, media fragmentation, soaring media costs and more focused target marketing strategies have raised the importance of the media planning function. In some cases, an advertising campaign might begin with a good media opportunity, followed by advertisements designed to take advantage of that opportunity. Increasingly, companies are realizing the benefits of planning these two activities jointly. Messages and media should blend harmoniously to create an effective overall ad campaign.

• Creating the. Advertising Message

A large advertising budget does not guarantee a successful advertising campaign. Two advertisers can spend the same amount on advertising, yet have very different results. The advertising messages can be more important to advertising success than the amount of money spent. No matter how big the budget, advertising can succeed only if commercials gain attention and communicate well.

THE CHANGING MESSAGE ENVIRONMENT. Good advertising messages are especially important in today's costly and cluttered advertising environment. The average consumer has numerous television and radio stations and thousands of magazines to choose from. To these, add the countless catalogues, direct-mail ads and continuous barrage of other media. Consumers are bombarded with ads at home, at work and at all points in between!

If all this advertising clutter bothers some consumers, it also causes big problems for advertisers - it is very costly. Advertisers could pay tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds for a 30-second slot during a popular prime-time TV programme. Also, their ads are sandwiched in with a battery of other commercials and announcements in any viewing hour. With the growth in cable TV, video cassette recorders and remote-controlled technologies, today's audience can also tune out ads by either watching commercial-free channels or 'zapping' commercials by pushing the 'fast-forward' button during taped programmes. With remote-control, they can instantly turn off the sound during a commercial or 'zip' around channels to see what else is on. Thus, just to gain and hold attention, today's advertising messages must be better planned, more imaginative, more innovative, more entertaining and more rewarding to consumers. Creative strategy, therefore, will play an increasingly important role in advertising success.

MESSAGE STRATEGY. The first step in creating effective advertising messages is to decide what general message will be communicated to consumers - to plan the message strategy. Generally, the purpose of advertising is to get target consumers to think about or react to the product or company in a certain way. People will respond only if motivated to do so. For example, they will reaet if they believe that they will benefit from doing so. Thus, developing an effective message strategy usually begins with identifying target customer benefits that can be used as advertising appeals. Ideally, advertising message strategy follows directly from the company's broader positioning strategy. The planner must also have in mind the target audience and the type of response the message should evoke among those that get the message.

Message strategy statements tend to be plain, straightforward outlines of benefits and positioning points that the advertiser wants to stress. This means the advertiser must develop a compelling creative concept - or big idea' - that will bring the message strategy to life in a distinctive and memorable way. The creative concept may emerge as a visualization, a phrase or a combination of the two. There are several creative message strategies that firms adopt:

• The message focuses on the brand's positioning (e.g. 'Stella Artois. Reassuringly expensive'; 'Simply years ahead', Philips; 'Have a break, have a Kit-Kat'; The world's most civilized spirit', Ilenessy cognac).

• The message taps one or other of the motivations that drive human consumption — for example, functional benefit ('Brain tood — every Friday', The Economist), pleasure ('Never simply required reading— it is desired reading', Wall Street Journal Europe), self-identity ('No FT Comment', Financial Times), image ('Many Guardian readers are just like their newspaper - eloquent, incisive and successful'), admiration ('Top people read The Times') and altruism ('We don't eut down trees for our newsprint').13

• The idea could be spawned by addressing the ways in which product sales can be increased: current users must be encouraged to use more, or new users encouraged to start buying the product. For example, Reebok came up with a breakthrough idea of informing consumers that their running shoes are for everyday wear, thus creating a 'new use' for previous non-users of the product category.

• The message homes in on the differences between the advertised product and competitors' offering: for example, Burger King's message to consumers is that its burger is 'Broiled, not fried'.

• The idea for the message could have developed from an in-depth knowledge of the consumer's own experience with the product, particularly the buying process, die process and effect of consumption, and the benefits sought. The advertiser must come very close to the consumer and follow his or her experience with the product, usually through lengthy, labour-intensive qualitative research, including point-of-purehase observations and analysis. Thus Contac 400 shows sharp observation, with its ad which assures cold sufferers that the drug 'dries up the symptoms of a cold'.

Creative ad people therefore have different ways of finding advertising-message ideas that will engage the attention of viewers. Many creative people start by talking to consumers, dealers, experts and competitors. Others try to imagine consumers buying or using the product and then work out the benefits that consumers seek when buying and using the product.

Usually, the copywriter and art director team up to generate many creative concepts, hoping that one of the concepts will turn out to be the big idea. Logically, it makes sense to generate alternative themes, evaluate the appeal of each and select a preferred strategy. But how should advertising planners evaluate advertising messages?

The creative concept should guide the choice of specific appeals to be used in an ad campaign. Generally, the appeals should have three characteristics. First, they should be meaningful, pointing out benefits that make the product more desirable or interesting to target customers. Second, appeals must be believable. This objective is difficult because many consumers doubt the truth of advertising in general. One study found that a full one-third of the public rates advertising messages as 'unbelievable'.1-1 Furthermore, the most meaningful and believable benefits may not be the best ones to feature. Appeals should be distinctive in terms of telling consumers how the product is better than the competing brands.

For example, the most meaningful benefit of owning a wristwatch is that it keeps accurate time, yet few watch ads feature this benefit. Instead, based on the distinctive benefits they offer, watch advertisers might select any of a number of advertising concepts. For years. Timex has been the affordable watch that 'Takes a lickin' and keeps on tiekin". In contrast, .Swatch lias featured style, fun and fashion, whereas Rolex stresses luxury and status. Advertisers should therefore pretest each ad to determine that it has the maximum impact, believability and appeal.

MESSAGE EXECUTION. The impact of the message depends not only on what is said, but also on hcrw it is said. The advertiser has to turn the 'big idea' into an actual ad execution that will capture the target market's attention and their interests. The advertiser usually begins with a statement of the objective and approach of the desired ad:

For example, in France, McClan's Whisky planned to use advertising to increase awareness and familiarity and to create an image as a real whisky with a distinct personality which was clearly within the values of the French whisky market. The target segment is regular whisky drinkers who are currently buying standard brands such as Johnny Walker and Ballantines, and who want good value but not the prestige of a premium or the money-saving value of a cheap brand. The 'how' or advertising message proposed that McClan is the whisky that embodies the spirit of France today. It is the whisky for the 'new adventurers', who are dynamic and aspirational, but their ambition is directed to a full and varied experience of life, self-expression and appreciation of art and culture, not the desire for social standing or political power. The message was executed via an evocative visual campaign. It exploited the physical elements of the brand, which already evoke positive images among French whisky drinkers - die short, sharp, powerful name, the golden

Execution style: here, Merrill Lynch positions itself as the 'authority* on global mergers.

label, distinctive bottle shape and red typography. Since it is illegal to advertise spirits on French TV, luxury magazines which gave colour and a prestige environment were chosen.34

The creative people must find the best style, tone, words and format for executing the message. Any message can be presented in different execution styles, such as the following: -

• Slice of life. This style shows one or more people using the product in a normal setting (e.g. the 'Oxo' gravy commercials which show the role of the mother who is tolerant of the domestic impositions of other members of her family).

• Lifestyle. This style shows how a product fits in with a particular lifestyle. For example, the 'After Eight' mints UK advertisement (elegant dinner party in a period house) appeals to aspirations more than anything else.

• Fantasy This style creates a fantasy around the product or its use. For instance, 'Anything can happen after a Badedas bath' usually meant the arrival of a 'Prince Charming' with a romantic style of transport just after his mistress emerged from the bath.

• Mood or image. This style builds a mood or image around the product, such as beauty, love or serenity. No claim is made about the product except through suggestion. Timotei shampoo employs the mood for nature and simplicity - a strategy that has worked successfully in many countries across the globe.

• Musical. The ad is built around a song or some well-known music, so that emotional responses to the music are associated with the product. Many soft-drink commercials (e.g. Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola) use this format.

• Personality symbol. This style creates a character that represents the product. The character might he animated (e.g. the Jolly (ireen Giant, Garfield the Cat) or real (e.g. Eric Cantona and Les Ferdinand for Nike's 'Kick It' campaign).

t Technical expertise. This style shows the company's expertise in making the product. Thus Maxwell House shows one of its buyers carefully selecting the coffee beans, and Audi ears implies superiority with Vorsprung dureh Technik'.

This ad for the BMW 840Ci Sport says it all. Moreover, l:>y conveying a clear and concise message without unnecessary or lengthy copy, this ad is applicable across many country's markets.

Photography: Michael Kenna

This ad for the BMW 840Ci Sport says it all. Moreover, l:>y conveying a clear and concise message without unnecessary or lengthy copy, this ad is applicable across many country's markets.

Photography: Michael Kenna

Hush, Little Baby!



Hush, Little Baby!



• Scientific evidence. This style presents survey or scientific evidence that the brand is better or better liked than one or more other brands. For years, Crest toothpaste has used scientific evidence to convince buyers that Crest is better than other brands at fighting cavities. In Elide Gibbs' relaunch of the skin-care brand Pond's, the advertisement referred to the 'Pond's Institute' where women were shown having their skin analyzed, the ad emphasizing the brand's scientific problem-solving qualities.

• Testimonial evidence. This style features a highly believable or likable source endorsing the product. It could be a celebrity, like sports star Daley Thompson, who was used to endorse Smith Kline Beecham's energy drink Lucozade, which Is targeted at young consumers, or ordinary people saying how much they like a given product.

The advertiser must also choose a tone for the ad. Positive appeals that evoke happiness, feelings of achievement, fun and so forth tend to be more effective than negative tones. Research has shown that negative appeals that evoke fear discourage viewers from looking at the advertisement, and so would be counterproductive (see Marketing Highlight 19.1).

The advertiser must also use memorable and attention-getting --words in the ad. For example, the following themes on the left would have had much less impact without the creative phrasing on the right:

Theme Creative copy

KLM would like frequently flying 'KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines - the business passengers to see it as reliable airline'

the all-round, reliable specialist in air travel.

Nothing is too much trouble in the pursuit of creating the perfectly functioning mechanism.

Miele offers top-quality premium kitchen products that are miles abend of the competition.

'Pure, undiluted BMW

'Miele - there is no better one' (The German company's advertising for dishwashers and washing machines

Philishavo gives optimum shaving satisfaction due to its high quality and advancc-d technology, making it superior to competitors in every way.

in Belgium, Holland, the United States and Canada)

'For a better, closer shave - Philips'

Stella Artois is a high-price, high-quality beer.

The Uncola'

'Stella Artois - reassuringly expensive'

Finally, format elements make a difference to an ad's impact as well as its cost. A small change in ad design can make a big difference to its effect. The illustration is the first thing the reader notices, so it must be -strong enough to attract attention. Next, the headline must effectively entice the right people to read the copy. Finally, the copy, which is the main block of text in the ad, must be simple but strong and convincing.

Consider Ericsson's recent advertising campaign, simply headlined 'Ericsson Made/Bond Approved', which shows Piers Brosnan, who plays James Bond, clutching an Ericsson mobile phone to his ear, rather than the traditional hand-gun. Those of you who have seen the movie Tomorrow Never Dies will recall that Bond's 'Ericsson-made' phone is no ordinary phone - it can steer a car, break open a safe, scan fingerprints, take photographs and even stun 'baddies'. Ericeson hopes that the link-up with Bond will help transform its slightly lack-lustre, anonymous image. The company hopes that the association with 007 will make Ericsson 'big, famous and sexy across all of its markets', and thereby help sales.15

Importantly, all the elements - style, tone, words, format - must effectively work togetlier. Even then, less than 50 per cent of the exposed audience will notice even a truly outstanding ad: about 30 per cent will recall the main point of the headline; about 25 per cent will remember the advertiser's name; and less than 10 per cent will have read most of the copy. Less than outstanding ads, unfortunately, will not achieve even these results.

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