Posts Tagged ‘WVU’

On a World Stage

July 3, 2014

My siblings and I grew up playing soccer. For us, every weekend was packed with tournaments and practices.  I was probably the least athletically inclined one out of the three of us, but I always found immense joy watching or playing soccer.  For me, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is no different.

The FIFA World Cup is a totally unique experience, especially for Americans. First, the United States is an underdog, which provides a new perspective. Second, with the exception of the Olympics, where else can you find an event that caters to the world’s population? Soccer players leave their club teams behind and compete against team members to honor their country. It is simply an amazing event.

The 2014 World Cup has garnered a great deal of social media popularity, with CNN saying that it is becoming the biggest social media event in history.  So far, 90% of the world has been engaged in these social media conversations.  Soccer superstars have taken to Twitter to promote the event and garner media attention.  Cristiano Ronaldo, the second highest paid athlete in the world, comes in at number one in The Top 15 Social Networking Superstars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It doesn’t stop with just athletes.  Teams are creating hashtags for individual games so those that cannot watch the event live can be kept update on the action.  The United States Men’s National Team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, wrote fans a “get out of work” note to show support for the USMNT, which has appeared on Facebook and other social sites.  (In my opinion it was well deserved after the comments he made about the team prior to their first game.)  The USMNT is taking a page from the marketing playbook and has gone to great lengths to unite the US fans by telling stores of all 23 USMNT players on their YouTube channel.  So far, the use of  social media has spread far and wide, but the strategies of each platform have (so far) been very thought out.  The graphics and storylines for each area fit the medium, but are always reinforcing the overall message of  “One Nation. One Team”.  I always find it disappointing when you see regurgitated information across multiple platforms that doesn’t fit the language or context of the platform.  So far, IMC plan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has appeared effective and very well thought out.

Media and social media presence around the World Cup has been amazing, but the World Cup provides unique challenges for marketers.  The first issue lies with the very thing that makes the World Cup so successful.  The World Cup is a world event, which makes advertising space much for valuable.  Additionally, there are no commercial breaks during the halves.  Each half is 45 minutes of continual play, which means there is only ad time before the event, after the event, and during half time.  With the events in Brazil this year, there have been water breaks added to games at the discretion of the referee when it is warmer than 86 degrees F.  The trouble with banking on ad space during this time is that it is not guaranteed.  So, much of the advertising time is eaten up by official sponsors and companies with a budget large enough to get in the game.

Even with limited ad space in the World Cup and a small advertising budget, Puma has figured out how to get attention without sacrificing their entire ad budget.  If you’ve watched the World Cup you may have seen several players with mismatched, surprisingly colored shoes.  Puma has released Tricks – a pair of one pink and one blue shoe.  They’re very noticeable on the feet of several world-level athletes such as Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré.  The shoes have many advantages, but the largest one being the media attention they’re getting during the World Cup without paying for the ad space.  Viewers can look at the shoes for a minimum of 90 minutes and Puma’s ad budget is saved for advertising after the World Cup, closer to the back-to-school time frame.

The infographic below was released in early June, but provides a great starting point for an analytic look at the World Cup so far.

Offerpop’s World Cup Infographic:

World Cup Infographic

A sporting event at this level has many advantages and disadvantages for marketers.  The world attention placed on the games have provided viewers with a rich and diverse social media and advertising experience without sacrificing the integrity of the sport.  Even if you’re a marketer, but not a soccer fan you can appreciate the experience.

What have been some of your favorite 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament moments on or off the field?

Digital Tales From Two Days at INTEGRATE 2014

June 16, 2014

- Written by Julie Long and Kat Shanahan with artwork by Julie Long

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Pride.  After searching my vocabulary for the word that best described how it felt to be at WVU for the INTEGRATE2014 conference, that’s what I’ve come up with.  Being on campus for the first time and networking with fellow students, professors, and speakers all gave me an overwhelming sense of pride and reaffirmed my decision to get my IMC degree from WVU.  Walking through the gates and into Milan Puskar Stadium for the keynote dinner you almost felt like a celebrity walking the red carpet but instead of an entourage consisting of George Clooney and Meryl Streep, I was in the presence of presenter and Alexia Vanides Teaching Award winner, Joe Barnes, and fellow blogger and conference guru Julie Long (that’s my kind of entourage). –KS

It is rare to find a group of individuals – let alone an academic program – that pushes you to become your best self. I have spent the better part of my career looking for a mentor. It turns out that I all I needed to do was join the WVU IMC program. As a result of becoming a student, I now have an entire community of mentors. Even though the mentors in my community are remote and spread out geographically, I would call upon their advice before reaching out to individuals in my face-to-face network. The main difference between the two groups comes down to the understanding and passion that everyone affiliated with the program has for the IMC field. I never would have thought that an online program would be all this and more…

The “and more…” is in large part attributed to the annual INTEGRATE conference. Unlike other marketing communication conferences where attendees pass like ships in the night, I view the INTEGRATE conference as “the event” that anchors my year. It is not everyday that you are surrounded by the caliber of talent that congregates in Morgantown year after year. It was truly inspiring to meet new faces this year, including Kat, who epitomizes and exemplifies a passionate and dedicated IMC student.

Even though the weekend is jam packed with networking and breakout sessions, the event culminates and hits a crescendo during the reception. — JL

At the reception, the excitement began building as we recapped a great conference and prepared to hear closing remarks from WVU administration and Head of Media Solutions – Tech for Google and WVU IMC professor, Elliott Nix.  It was at this time that  I was able to finally meet all of the fellow students in my current class, connect with speaker Lee Odden, and take just one minute to bask in the final moments of the conference.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better we were seated for dinner. –KS

Three years ago, I was a wide-eyed Freshman attending the big event. I knew very few , if any, of the faces or names of anyone sitting around my dinner table. This year, I knew all but two individuals at my table.

With each passing year, I have begun to judge my professional IMC accomplishments against the calendar year of the INTEGRATE conference.  After year one, I forged face-to-face connections with faculty and fellow students and I even started an IMC Pinterest board. After year two, I became a blogger for the program and continued to forge even deeper relationships with fellow IMC’ers. After year three, I became an author for Steamfeed.com, connected with IMC bloggers Kat & Rebecca, joined Twitter, tried out Google Glass, and was accepted into the WVU IMC Classmates Facebook Page (The conference continues throughout the year on social media!) All of these accomplishments, including meeting the large majority of my e-connections, would not have come to fruition if I did not attend INTEGRATE.

The reception affords me time to reflect back and look ahead at my uncharted path. Looking around the room this year, I could not help but soak up the energy emanating from within the walls of the stadium. Sitting down at the table I was able to see first hand how the IMC field is directly being shaped by the program. The momentum of the evening hits a crescendo when the keynote speaker takes the stage. The impending speech is a pivotal turning point in renewing my sense of pride for the program, and my passion for the field of IMC. –JL

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The keynote presentation by Elliott Nix was nothing short of inspiring.  Elliott talked about the importance of tying innovation to business strategy and asking oneself, “Does this solve a problem?”  Having a great idea is one thing, but using that to solve a problem is where you find real innovation.  Elliott said, “Technology isn’t about making things easier, it’s about making lives better.”  Sounds great, right?  But how do you do that?  According to Elliott, you must build a culture of failure and challenge your preconceived notions of what’s popular.  Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

After Elliott’s keynote we sat down with him to ask just a few more questions about innovation.  Elliott said the key to overcoming blocks in innovation is to ask yourself, “What’s the immediate answer, and then what’s the exact opposite?”  What’s the answer that is going to get you fired?  You take the second idea and do what you can to poke holes in it.  If you can’t…that’s the one you should go with.  Elliott also challenged us to think about the problem in a different industry and find out how you can apply that to your industry.

We also asked Elliott what’s in store for those in the IMC program. He said that we should “think bigger,” find new ways of looking at a business/client, and show how you can tackle the narratives of traditional and digital marketing together.  We all know that trying to show the value of IMC and finding companies that support that way of thinking can be challenging.  Elliott recommended finding companies that are “on stage” and have a media presence in the mobile, video, and analytic areas.  Those are the companies that will be more forward thinking.  As you can see, Elliott left us with no shortage of important topics to think about.  Our challenge now is how to use it.  Where are you going to start? –KS

 

We would like to say a monumental thank you to the IMC team and executive team Nicole, Chad, Shelly, Judy, Briana, Rick, Michael, Aaron, Rachel Mort, and Rachel Angry for everything you did to bring INTEGRATE 2014 to fruition.

 

INTEGRATE2014: Nice to meet you.

May 31, 2014

Raise your hand if you’ve met former professors, fellow classmates, and new friends at INTEGRATE2014. *raises hand*

Earlier today I had the opportunity to meet Jessica while I was waiting for the afternoon breakout session, “Creative Strategist| Strategic Creative- Which One Are You Becoming?”

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Jessica and I were in the same Brand Equity Management class.

I’m also excited that I met Dr. Freberg, who is teaching my current PR Concepts and Strategy class. Plus, spending time with fellow IMC bloggers Kat and Julie has been so much fun! And let’s not forget our session speakers. Yesterday I had lunch with NASCAR’s David Higdon. It’s very inspiring to be surrounded by so many people who are passionate about integrated marketing communications.

What has been your favorite networking aspect of INTEGRATE? How many fellow classmates have you met?

INTEGRATE2014: Lessons learned from Bill Oechsler

May 31, 2014

The last session of the conference was a little bittersweet. The conference has been absolutely fantastic and even though it’s not quite over, the information I’ve learned has made my mind race and my reading list double. I am very excited to apply all of this phenomenal information to projects in my IMC world.

The last breakout session I attended was Bill Oechsler’s, and it was fantastic. Just like with Lee Odden’s session, a recap of the information is not possible in such a small space.

One of the most beneficial parts for me was the insight provided by Bill on the Absolut campaign. For me, I’ve enjoyed watching the campaign grow because I’m a photography fan. The way that Absolut captured viewers through strong photography and simplistic ads is a great reminder that simple isn’t a bad thing. Much like the presentation from Joe Barns told us, give customers options, but not too many. We don’t want to overwhelm our customers. Simple, well executed ideas can go far.

The beauty of the campaign is also that it has legs. The product and packaging are the hero of the story. The ads focus entirely on Absolut and it has been marketed in a simplistic, authentic way.

Bill shared great examples from Absolute, Apple, and more with the emphasis of simplicity and creating campaigns that move. Simple and authentic make a great pair.

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What are your favorite simple campaigns? What sticks with you?

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Lee Odden

May 31, 2014

Digital Convergence: The Integrated Marketing & PR Imperative was a knock out session. Lee Odden’s dynamic presentation style captivated the audience and gave us great tips and reminders to incorporate into our IMC worlds.

After engaging in the session, I think my blog title is a bit misleading.  There is no way a blog post would even make a dent in recapping Lee’s session or capturing the amazing information and presentation style shared with us this morning.

So, if you weren’t at the session (or even if you were) I challenge you to think of the word “optimizing” very differently.  It seems as though every time I mention the word “optimize” people automatically think of it in terms of digital media or graphic design.  The biggest take away from the session today was optimizing content for your audience.  Lee encouraged us to start the marketing process with empathy.  As marketers we need to think of what are customers need and how we can help them get it.  How can we optimize our content to help our clients get where they need to go?   How can we make their jobs and their lives easier so that they will want to communicate with us?  He mentioned journalists as a prime example.  Years ago journalists were not thought of as a target market, but Lee saw them as a target market and changed the way he provided information to them.  Instead of simple press releases the information was rich and included materials journalists need, but don’t have the time to track down.  Starting with empathy lead to significant changes in the way the information was presented. You need to make sure that when a customer is looking for answers, your information is there to help them.

Lee also empowered the audience to think a bit differently (Not surprising).  He reiterated that we can change the game in regards to content marketing.  As he says, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.”

I”ll leave you with Lee’s 3 Key Takeaways and highly encourage you to speak with him at the conference, or see him present in the near future.  If talking to people isn’t your thing, you can read his blog or check out his book, Optimize.

  • If you want to be in the media – become the media
  • Build amplification into the content design process – be the best answer wherever customers are looking
  • Keep content accountable across channels – attract, engage, convert

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If you attended Lee’s session or have read his book, Optimize, what were your favorite parts? What got you the most excited?

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Capstone Prep

May 30, 2014

The Capstone Prep Session was a great way to start the conference! I left the session with so many great ideas and I’m very excited to take the capstone class. (I’m actually a little disappointed I won’t be taking it until next fall!)

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Einstein

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In case you missed it or forgot to take notes, here are some tips shared at the session this morning!

Tips
-Budget your time
-Talk to people in your network
-Keep your focus
-Bring your insights
-Bring your ideas
-Bring your best game — it’s about you and how you present yourself to the world. It’s how you see yourself
-Preparation begins now – start research before you start class
-CREATIVE IDEAS ARE ESSENTIAL and required
-Strategy is not a tagline
-Don’t think like a student – think like a CEO. You must be a full IMC agency for nine weeks
-Clients don’t want to hear what they already know. It has to be different.

IMC Creativity
- Get to the core – ICSS
- Find the novel approach – something new
- Take risks – but stay on strategy

If you want an A you have to B(e) -
-Strategic
-Resourceful
-Surprising
-Interesting
-Efficient
-Effective
-Thorough
-Organized
-Creative

Research Tips
1 – Do basics really well
2 – Go a step beyond – trade journals
3 – Get your own insights – look for gaps in existing research

I hope you find this list helpful! For those of you who have taken the class, anything you’d like to add?

Preparing for Integrate!

May 23, 2014

I am ecstatic to be attending INTEGRATE next week. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to Morgantown before I graduated, but am thrilled I was able to use this conference as a professional development experience this year. Before heading out I wanted to share with you five of my tips for attending conferences.

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  • Pre-network: I’m a bit of an introvert and walking into a networking session not knowing anybody is very challenging for me. One thing I do to prepare for this is to reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and in class to see who is attending and when they’ll be arriving. That way I’ve already started to make connections with people and feel more comfortable walking into those events. (I’m serious…if you see me walk right up and say hi. Networking is only awkward for the first few minutes.)
  • Bring business cards! It may seem like a no brainer, but I cannot tell you how many times people have asked for my card and I’m out. Additionally, I’ve notice that my phone number isn’t on there. I write my office number of the back of the cards in advance so that it doesn’t take time away from a great conversation. I also find it very beneficial to write on the back of someone else’s business card how I met them or something else to help me remember them. You meet a lot of people at conferences and even though you think you’ll remember them chances are you won’t!
  • Research and schedule: I find that I can look through the conference schedule 100 times beforehand, plan everything out, and as soon as I get to the conference I go rogue. All my planning goes out the window and I find sessions that I didn’t see before that might be interesting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do recommend looking at the schedule in advance. I also think that doing a little background research on the keynote speakers helps you be more engaged in the presentation and helps you make a connection with the presenter if there’s time for questions.
  • Develop your system: While I was at the ACUI conference in April I was still trying to figure out how to make the most of my conference experience during the conference. I was taking notes in Evernote on my iPad and my iPhone. There was a syncing issue and I lost everything that had been documented on my phone. I recommend trying to figure out a system so that you’re not scrambling to document things or lose valuable information.
  • Dive in: Again, not rocket science, but I do think it is valuable information. Like I said, I’m a bit of an introvert and buying into things that are out of my comfort zone is not always an easy task. I encourage you to dive right into the conference so that you don’t walk away saying “I wish I would have tried this” or “I wish I would have done that.” You only get one chance to build these connections and have these experiences, so it’s important that you take advantage of them.

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I hope you found this information beneficial. If you see me at an event or session please come up and say hi. I really do love meeting new people! I also encourage you to join the Facebook event so you can “pre-network” with others that are attending!

Is this really free?

May 20, 2014

Lately I’ve become very irritated with the word free.  Download your FREE ebook here! Why didn’t we have anyone attend our FREE event? Everywhere I look I see “free” offers for products, services, and resources.  Additionally, I hear people get frustrated because they cannot fathom why their free event didn’t reach capacity.  My answer is….because it’s not really free.

Just because there is not a monetary cost, does not mean something is free.  If a company asks for my email address or any type of information, what I am downloading is no longer free.  My email address is very important to me, giving it away is not free.  If the resource were actually free, the company wouldn’t be collecting information and the download would be immediate.  For something that is “free,” why am I giving you my personal information and spending time filling out your forms and before downloading the resource?

From an event perspective, it is important to realize that if people are attending your event they’re not doing something else.  It may sound simple, but attending a free event means they are not spending time with friends/family or attending another event.  In my case, if people are attending free events at the university they’re not working on homework, relaxing, or working.  So, attending an hour long event means that they’re not working for an hour- which means the event is not free.

A while back, I signed up for a free resource of some kind and the next thing I knew, I was on an email list that I couldn’t unsubscribe from.  One day, I got so frustrated that I sent (a bit of a sarcastic) tweet.  The photo below was a job description that was included in the email.  I was so frustrated by their continued emails that I tweeted the the photo and asked it this was their actual position description.  I was sad to find out that the reason that position description was included in the email (that they sent to me) was that they didn’t think anyone would read the email. (Please, as marketers, don’t send emails you don’t think people will or want to read.)  The gentleman that tweeted me back also did not understand that I was trying to unsubscribe from the emails and was disappointed that I was still receiving them.Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 8.41.01 PM

Next time you ask, or are asked, to exchange your personal information for a “free” resource, ask yourself, is it worth it?

Seven things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program

May 1, 2014

It’s hard to believe that I started this journey to get my Master’s Degree three and a half years ago and it’s about to end in less than two weeks! I have learned A LOT in the last 3.5 years — about marketing yes, but also about endurance, time management, writing, research, and myself. Some of these lessons I picked up early on, and others only more recently. But all of them are things I wish I had learned a bit sooner. So here it is. For all of you who are just getting started in the program (and even those of you who have been with it a little while), here are seven (because five was too few and ten was too many) things I wish I had known when I started the IMC program.

1. Time management takes on a whole new level in the IMC program. No matter how good you think you are at time management, you will find yourself hitting that submit button with only seconds to spare at least once per semester. At first I thought maybe it was just me. But then I started connecting with some of my classmates offline and found out I wasn’t alone! Even the most dedicated and disciplined of classmates has had a week or two (or 9) when they have found themselves working feverishly on Monday night only to click that upload button at 11:54 p.m. I don’t recommend doing this a lot (I personally have had way too many close calls), but cut yourself some slack if it happens every once in a while. And know that Murphy’s Law will prevail and those assignments that you think won’t be such a big deal will end up taking you twice as long to get done! So try and start early as often as you can to save yourself the stress.

Calvin and Hobbs on procrastination

We all find ourselves hitting the submit button at 11:54 at one time or another.

2. Quality sources make all the difference! As I progressed through the program I learned from each professor which trade publications and sources they favored for quality information when doing research. Some of these I subscribed to early-on and used throughout the course, others I only discovered late in the game and I wish I had thought of them sooner. So, here are a few that I recommend you sign-up for now: AdAge, AdWeek, PR Week, DM News, Pew Research, and MarketingProfs. I also highly recommend you take advantage of the online library databases for accessing journals and competitor/industry information. They’re free and they will give you information you will not find in a Google search. I’m sure there are more that classmates can recommend, but those are the gold standards that have helped me through many a discussion board post and weekly paper!

3. INTEGRATE is awesome. Seriously. You should go! At least once. I almost didn’t go last year and changed my mind at the last minute and I’m so glad I did. Not only were there some great sessions, but it was the first chance I had to meet classmates and professors in person and see the WVU campus. It made me feel so much more connected to the program. I only wish I had gone sooner.

Evernote on an iPad

Evernote helps me work on school work from any place or device.

4. Empower yourself to be mobile. I think I was about 3 semesters into the program when I read a blog post by Kevin that talked about some of his favorite tools that helped him find success in the IMC program. It was the first time I had ever heard of Evernote. It has since become one of my favorite go-to programs for school, work and personal life. Using a tool like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote allows you to save your research, and even write your discussion board posts or papers in one place, but access it from any device. So whether you’re in your office at your desk, sitting on the couch at home with your iPad, or even on your phone while waiting for your kids to finish their piano lessons, you can sneak in a little work and pick right back where you left off at the next opportune moment.

5. Every professor is different. It’s true. No matter how consistent the program is (and trust me, it’s pretty darn consistent compared to others I know about), or how standardized the syllabus, each professor is going to communicate differently and grade differently. They are human, after all! Yet for some reason I’ve seen a lot of classmates get very upset by this fact. Were your undergrad professors all the same? I highly doubt it. I know mine weren’t. You will have favorites and some that kick-your-butt! And there may not be consensus on this by your classmates…so just because your friend said they loved Professor so-and-so doesn’t mean you will. All I can say is accept this fact now and it will save you a lot of disappointment and frustration down the road. For my part (and I have nothing to gain by saying this since I’m pretty much done with the program), I found all of my professors to be reasonable and fair.

6. Connect with classmates outside of Blackboard. It wasn’t until very recently that I got invited to a Facebook Group for IMC students, that was created by a classmate (and is not officially affiliated with the IMC program). This has been one of the best discoveries of the last 3 years because it has allowed me to “meet” people I’ve never had class with, ask for suggestions, tips and recommendations relating to certain classes, share ideas, commiserate about our lack of a life on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, and just in general talk…you know that thing you did in the hallways when you were in undergrad? The stories that got shared around the lunch table or in the lobby of your dorm room? That stuff is missing when you’re in an online program. But thanks to social media there are ways to connect with colleagues outside of class. Whether it’s through Facebook, LinkedIn or even email, I highly recommend you get connected to other students outside of the Blackboard classroom! In fact if you’re interested in joining the Facebook group let me know!

7. At some point you will want to quit. OK, maybe this won’t happen to everyone, but I know that a good majority of the people I’ve met through the program have contemplated it at least once before they finish. And some even do quit…for a semester or two. Whether your personal life changes, your work life gets too hectic, or you just plain need a break, at some point you may find yourself wondering – “Can I really keep doing this?” The answer is YES! Yes, you can, even if you have to take a break — don’t give up! You will be so glad when you cross that finish line.

Who tells your story?

April 29, 2014

“The problem with television is the picture.” – Bill Mosher

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I never expected a documentary producer to say those words, so imagine my surprise when PBS Visionaries Producer, Bill Mosher, said them in front of a captive audience.  The discussion of the conference was storytelling and his comment slapped me in the face as I evaluated how we tell our story at the university center.  After watching amazing storytellers captivate an audience and nearly bring everyone to tears with their voice alone, I started to think he was right.  Reading, writing, and listening all leave room for the imagination of the participant.  Suddenly, the participant becomes part of the experience.  They fill in the blanks with their own memories, experiences, and ideas, and the story becomes real to them.  I began to wonder if we were spoon-feeding our audience a story that we wanted to tell, but they didn’t want to hear.

When I think of the stories that I remember and the experiences I share, I do so because they have significant meaning to me.  As marketers and storytellers, it is our responsibility to share the things that we do in a way that makes people want to talk about them.  Every experience a customer has with a company, product, service, or organization helps build a brand and tell a story.  The goal of marketing isn’t to teach customers to regurgitate a scripted story, but to make them feel like valued partners who share the story because they want to.  Isn’t that the goal of learning? I still believe that as marketers we are educators and we should be empowering the people we are marketing to (teaching) to be our advocates – not memorize the correct answers.

When you’re telling your story, are you leaving room for the customer?


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