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Interactive Commercial Utilizes Tivo Features 165

Posted by Zonk
from the making-commercials-right dept.
scrow writes "Marketing officers at Kentucky Fried Chicken's Yum! Brands Inc. have developed a commercial containing a hidden message for the viewers to find using their DVR systems. The aim is to combat the use of DVR devices, like Tivo, to skip advertising by introducing interactivity."
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Interactive Commercial Utilizes Tivo Features

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  • interactivity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lonasindi (914571) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:29AM (#14798879)
    if I want interactive, I use the computer.
    On the rare occasion I watch TV, I don't want to like, interact with the commercials. that's stupid.
    • My thoughts exactly: why the hell would I want to get interactive with a commercial for some 99 cent burger? If I can afford a tivo, I surely can afford better food than that... Offer me a coupon for a free Mercedes, and you might get my attention.

      Commercials ruin the whole TV experience for me. I watched Firefly from DVDs I borrowed from a friend, and I enjoyed it tremendously. The DVDs are already on my to-buy list as soon as I can spot them in a store nearby. They recently started airing them in my cou

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Firefly... subtle?

        You blatantly conform. You disguise your insecurity poorly. You use geek buzzwords and memes:

        -tivo (+2)
        -Firefly (+5, level up)
        -borrowed but intend to buy (+1)
        -hate commercials (+1)
        -rarely watch television (+2)

        Your SN smacks of idolatry and has homoerotic subtext. You're barely holding it together. You're an elitist who uses money to compensate for his small penis. Hence the Mercedes.
      • If I can afford a tivo, I surely can afford better food than that... Offer me a coupon for a free Mercedes, and you might get my attention.

        Commercials ruin the whole TV experience for me. I watched Firefly from DVDs I borrowed from a friend


        Let me get this straight.

        You're mister "I'm above a free burger, I can afford a TiVo..." yet you're borrowing a DVD from a friend and it's on your "to-buy list."

        Give me a break.

        On top of that, most people that have DVRs nowadays are those that rent them for $5 a month fro
        • I don't own a tivo; I live in Belgium, we don't have tivo. I do however have a tuner card in the PC, pay for cable and barely watch it (haven't seen TV at my place in like 2 months). But yes, I can afford better food than some junk burger. Like stuff I cook myself.

          And on the subject of Firefly: I just haven't seen it in stores yet. I don't shop much, except for food. The supermarket is next to the building I live in; the record shop is on the other side of town. The online record shop I order from didn't

      • "They recently started airing them in my country, ...[they] leave me in a state of confusion as soon as the show resumes because by then I'll have forgotten some of the subtle stuff that happened because I was distracted by the commercials, and I'll need a couple of minutes to get back into the show."

        Whatever country you're in, you clearly have a lot to learn. You don't actually think you're supposed to WATCH the things, do you?
    • I agree but I'm glad to see the ad companies making some effort to adapt rather than just blindly kill off new technology.
    • yeah. like, that's totally stupid and whatever. for sure.
    • Well, that is all fine and dandy if you want to play 1337 on /.

      I personally enjoy TV and have invested heavily to get a best possible experience.. DVR's changed my viewing habits to the point where the only TV I watch, are programs that I have recorded (except news and sports that is).

      Skipping through commercials does the following:
      - Save you time (Watched A Bridge Too Far and it contained almost 1 hour of commercials)
      - Almost avoid interrupts in the show
      - Advertisers will still get their message ac
  • by SengirV (203400) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:29AM (#14798880)
    So I don't have to actually watch the comercial.
  • Oblig Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rob_squared (821479) <rob.rob-squared@com> on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:32AM (#14798893)
    Excellent idea

    1. Make ads for TV
    2. Slowly make them more annoying
    3. Discover that people are avoiding your ads like the plague
    4. Try to subvert to force said people to watch your ads
    5. ???
    6. Profit!
    • Re:Oblig Profit! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:49AM (#14798951)

      5. ???

      People buy the product? Not everything is a dot com business model you know. I think the plan is pretty smart. It got some free advertising on Slashdot. Maybe other companies will start hiding things (like details for entering a sweepstakes) in commercials.
      • People buy the product?

        You know, I would generally reckon that if someone goes to the trouble of consciously not watching ad breaks, chances are they're not all that interested in buying something that's advertised. Therefore, all you're doing by trying to subvert this is pissing money down the loo.

        But, what do I know? IANAMB (marketing bunny)

        • chances are they're not all that interested in buying something that's advertised.


          Oh I disagree. Advertising doesn't work on a completely rational level. One of the goals of advertising is simple familiarity. I.e. when you're look at the supermarket of different brands of Salsa to buy , the advertised product it isn't strange and foreign. Another goal of advertising is association. If an advertiser can associate the product with something good, you'll be more likely to buy it.
    • Slowing them down not only makes them more annoying, but it also ensures that your message DOES NOT get across. What is advertising? It's a carefully planned message-in-motion at approximately 15-60fps. Having someone step through it frame-by-frame to look for a coupon does *NOT* make them recepients of your message. If they wanted to capture someone's attention they should just throw up the coupon, and freeze there for the whole 15-30 second spot. Static image. Can you imagine? People would be going nuts
      • If they wanted to capture someone's attention they should just throw up the coupon, and freeze there for the whole 15-30 second spot. Static image. Can you imagine? People would be going nuts trying to figure out if their TV was broken.

        That's a fantastic idea. Commercials usually subscribe to the idea that they need to be louder, faster, and more blaring in order to get your attention. Ever notice how the volume during commercials is much louder than during the shows? And the shows themselves are cranked up
    • Hey...I'll take making commercials interactive to intice me to watch them, then making laws that force me to watch them.
    • This is a great thing. (1) It will encourage companies to give away cash prizes for watching their ads, (2) it encourages companies to make ads that are entertaining, which I am more likely to watch, (3) it recognizes the inevitability that companies can no longer force consumers to watch ads by bombardment as we get more control over our lives--it recognizes my right to choose whether or not I'm going to watch this ad, (4) single, large prizes will encourage a few, dedicated people to "solve" the ad, much
  • A few things (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WeatherMatt (909566) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:33AM (#14798899)
    Number one, they forget that not everyone owns a DVR to play back the commercial in slow-motion to even get the code. Number two, people don't watch commercials for gimmicky promotions. Why do so many people watch the Super Bowl for the ads rather than the game? Because the ads are enjoyable/entertaining in some way. Make them funny, and people will watch. While this doesn't guarantee people buying your product (which is what KFC is after) this does get them watching. I personally don't agree with how KFC is going about this. Why not just let the code be plainly visible rather than viewable only to the segment of the populace that has special equipment?
    • Re:A few things (Score:4, Interesting)

      by eln (21727) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:36AM (#14798910) Homepage
      The people who don't have DVRs will just be forced to watch the commercial just like they always have. Sure, they won't get the promotion, but they'll still see a (hopefully effective) commercial. It's not like KFC is just going to show 30 seconds of a blank screen with one or two frames relevant to DVR owners.

      This is designed to entice people who ordinarily skip over commercials to actually watch them. TV commercials are all about creating brand awareness. If you don't have a DVR, you become aware of the brand by being forced to sit through their commercials. If you do have a DVR, presumably you need some sort of extra incentive (like a chance at a free sandwich) to watch the commercial.
    • Why do so many people watch the Super Bowl for the ads rather than the game? Because the ads are enjoyable/entertaining in some way. Make them funny, and people will watch.

      I've actually started buying Emerald Nuts cause they're commercials are hilarious. Anytime me and my housemates see a new one, we try and guess what the acronym will mean this time. My personal favorite to date is the "Engrossed Manacurists Eventually Relay Advice Like 'Do Not Untie That String'"

      -Ab
      • I think you are seeing a very different kind of commercial than airs here... All of the Emerald Nuts commercials I have seen just end with "E_____ N_____s love Emerald Nuts".
        • Here's the one [google.com] that aired during the superbowl. That's when thye switched from "E____ N_____'s love Emerald Nuts" to the "E___ M____ E____ R____ A____ L____ D____ N____ U____ T____ S____" format.

          -Ab

  • by generic-man (33649) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:34AM (#14798907) Homepage Journal
    The headline as of this writing is "Interactive Commercial Utilizes Tivo Features."

    The commercial is not "Interactive" because you must watch it repeatedly. You don't interact with the commercial; you interact with the company by doing something indicated subliminably* in the commercial.

    The commercial does not "utilize Tivo features" -- the summary actually states that it is meant to prevent users from fast-forwarding through it by implying that intellligent users might find something of value if they analyze it diligently enough. There are commercials which "utilize Tivo features" by employing a "PRESS THUMBS UP TO RECEIVE MORE ADS" button; this is not one of them.

    Therefore, this article should be retitled "Commercial."

    * Real word
    • Yeah, further, being forced to watch (or mute) a commercial doesn't make it interactive, just annoying. Maybe they mean "interactive" like, in that you have to go to extra lengths to remove the commercial from the video before you archive it. ;)
    • subliminably*

      * Real word

      Err, no ...

      Try _Subliminally_

      "The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48"
      Subliminal Sub*lim"i*nal, a. Pref. sub- + L. limen
      threshold.
      1. (Philos.) Existing in the mind, but below the surface or
      threshold of consciousness; that is, existing as feeling
      rather than as clear ideas.
      Webster 1913 Suppl.

      2. having or using an intensity of sensory stimulus
      insufficient to be perceived consciously, but having an
      effect on unconscious mental processes; as, subl

  • Thumbs up to KFC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by athakur999 (44340) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @01:36AM (#14798909) Journal
    Instead of being lawsuit crazy and trying to get people to watch their commercials by force, they gives incentives for people to watch their commercials voluntarily. Wish more advertisers would take this approach instead of making their ads steadily more annoying and intrusive.

    • I agree with you 100%. I don't mind buying into marketing if it interests me. I'm sure, though, that there will be a flood of posts here to the tune of: "I NEVER LISTEN TO COMMERCIALS! MY CHILDREN AND I LIVE IN THE DARK, AND IF IT IS ADVERTISED, FUCK IT."

      I'm glad to see that KFC's marketing firm is taking a positive approach to the DVR situation as opposed to the usual bully approach.
    • I'll still pass. KFC is a multinational company. We all know them.

      Personally, I'd love to see more local companies doing something like this. At the multinational level, it's not needed.

    • +1 Insightful to the parent

      Thank you, KFC, for getting it. When technology began to obsolete your marketing channel, you didn't legislate the continued existence of the marketing channel. Instead, you got smart people together to figure out a new way to market your product. You now understand what it takes to do marketing in a society of ubiquitous, ever-changing technology.

  • Not many comments yet, but most seem to be very negative of the idea.

    I wonder why. In fact, I think this is a great idea. It gives the consumer a chioce. Either he won't care one bit about this "interactive" commercial and keep fast-forwarding through them or he can get involved and watch the commercial thoroughly, adding value for himself as well as the supplier of the ad.

    This is the way a free market is supposed to work. If the consumer doesn't want to watch the commercials, add some value to them.

  • Eh, it ain't that special. It's on the web, too. Go here: http://www.kfc.com/buffalosnacker/ [kfc.com]. Enter "buffalo" in the text box. You'll get a coupon for a free one, in case you might actually eat it.

    Remember, Pamela Anderson is watching...
  • Unless you unlock the "secret message" by hitting "SKIP", I'll never know the difference.
    • Upon further reviewing my statement a sad realization occured to me. If they can't force people to watch the commercials with lame advertising contests, the only course of action will be to set 'product placement' at a premium. Imagine just before you find out 'who the killer is', the characters kick back and enjoy a refreshing bucket of KFC right in front of the cameras.
  • What a fantastic idea! It's good to see someone can think of new idea's (although the Simpsons et al have been doing the same thing for years, but it's not [usually] advertising...) instead of the usual advertisement tripe.

    [rant]
    I hate ads. I listen to radio stations that don't play ads, I mute the tv / change channel during the ads, I'll do anything to avoid them. If TV doesn't make you a zombie already, the ads do. Have you watched people watching ads? They just sit there with mouths open, staring.

    Wh
    • I voted with my wallet a couple of years ago and cancelled Foxtel. Station promos, fair enough (and only between progs) but advertising? What exactly was I paying for? More content, yes, but also many more ads. Worse, they're very generic ads because it's one station for the whole country.

      The day I can pick hold of a remote and say 'I'm not interested in a new car, new home, feminine hygiene products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, fast food, women's clothes, men's clothes, new watches, per
  • Will the advertisements have an effect on Tivo users? Who cares. I think the fact that KFC is trying an idea like this is getting a lot of great publicity. I mean... KFC on Slashdot? I think it's brilliant. Well done, Colonel!
  • There, I saved you having to type BUFFALO at http://www.kfc.com/buffalosnacker/ [kfc.com]
    • Browser Recommendations: Netscape Navigator 6.0+ and/or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0+ are recommended to enter this portion of the site.

      Sorry, approximately 90% of /. cannot access this site. Please try again when they support Firefox, or Opera, or like, Konkerer.

    • Why do I just end up at http://www.kfc.com/buffalosnacker/toyoung.asp [kfc.com] no matter what I enter there, even if I delete all my cookies? Will somebody post a link to the actual coupon, because who knows how many other garbage questions they want us to fill out so they can spam us probably.
    • Yeah, ok, I went ahead and downloaded flash 8 anyway. Wanted to see how cleverly placed the hint happened to be... Anyway, now that I've entered Buffalo into the password field, I'm presented with check age. I enter the age in Omniweb with cookies and js on. Apparently, I'm to frickin' young, so I try Safari... Again, I'm under the age of 18 even though I was born in the 70's. Wow, great frickin' move KFC. I first have to download Flash 8 to watch, then enable cookies and js, then enter my age just to
  • "This is taking the exact opposition approach -- rewarding viewers for taking the time to engage and be interactive with television," said Tom O'Keefe, an executive at Foote Cone & Belding, the advertising agency that created the spot for KFC Corp.

    Yet another way in which televisions and all that profit from them are trying *desperately* to become the new interactive medium: GET REAL! People will not go to the trouble of recording a commerical in order to get a single coupon for something that costs

    • Dish Network has been putting hotlinks in some ads for awhile now. You watch the commercial, and a button pops up in the corner that says "press enter for more info" or something along those lines, and it takes you to an interactive page.
    • Yes, people will do all manner of things, including tricking people to click on their referral links through subtle placement in their posts.
  • those who skip the commercials, get as punishment, an interactive listing of KFC's secret recipe! (eew)
  • by jrsp (513795)
    Make me WANT to watch your commercials and I might and I won't be pissed off doing so. Just don't MAKE me watch your commercials. Subtle difference, no?
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @02:03AM (#14799005) Homepage
    "The prize is a coupon for KFC's new, sauce-drenched $0.99 Buffalo Snacker chicken sandwich."

    Big thrill.

    KFC is scary. The smallest dinner they sell is a reasonably-sized meal. Most of the meals they sell are far, far bigger. And I see "wide loads" in there buying entire buckets for themselves.

  • I'm going to catch these ads, retrieve the codes, and publish them to a web page that also serves up Google ads. They can get the codes without having to sift through the TiVo bs, and I'll get paid for the eyeballs. Thanks KFC!
  • Speaking just for myself here, I can't wait until media is completely consumer driven (such as on iTunes), and people can just drop a few bucks or subscribe to their favorite shows only. I swear, the more I have to deal with shows being monitored and censored by the advertising dollars backing it and the more I have to deal with poorly made products because of all the money thrown away on ads... just makes me sick.

    I don't need some executive in an office trying to tell me what I want to watch and his cronie
  • I'm buying a DVR system tomorrow to take part in this exciting offer! I've heard that some have had difficulty hooking up their DVR systems, but it looks pretty simple to me. You just need the proper cables to connect to the... TV... oh crap... I NEED TO GET A TV!
  • TV needs to take some lessons from advertising in other media. Now that TV no longer has a captive audience, there needs to be more innovative and entertaining content in their commercials. Think Burma Shave. If content spanned several ads with an evlolving storyline or some sequence of material, then people might actually be interested in following along. The idea of embedded puzzles isn't bad, but it doesn't have broad appeal - there will just be a small contingent of people interesting in cracking it
  • I have a Tivo and I've gotten the "hit thumbs up for more info" type commercials for about a year now. Its actually pretty useful if you like a car you hit one button on your remote and you get a brochure. If you like a movie you can see an extended trailer....

    But how is this news?
    • I have a Tivo and I've gotten the "hit thumbs up for more info" type commercials for about a year now

      This isn't even that kind of interactive ad. FTA...

      the chain unveiled a new TV ad Thursday that allows viewers to crack a hidden message if they play the spot back slowly on a digital video recorder or VCR

      It's a stupid gimmick where they flash something on the screen really quickly, and people have to play it back slowly to see it. "Interactive Commercial Utilizes Tivo Features" sounds like marketing

  • Find the fried rat hiding in the chicken.
  • Soon TV networks will just start putting tickers over shows, to make sure you have to be present for the ads. Unless you Just Don't Look.
  • ...happened to replayTV? oh wait... that name wasn't catchy enough for the target market.
  • Hats off to KFC and Yum Brands, this is a welcome alternative to the incredibly annoying trend of obvious product placement in film and television. Hopefully they will choose to pursue this on its own, as opposed to in conjunction with whatever placement strategy they may have.

    I don't mind when a character happens to pull a name-brand can of soda out of their fridge, or requests a specific kind of drink at a bar, etc. It prevents the awkward scenes in you see in 80s sitcoms where you always see someone d
  • When I enter the code on the site, it asks for my birthday. I enter it (I was born in 1984) and it gives me an error saying that I am too young and that I have to be over 18 to participate.

    Last time I checked, 2006-1984=22.
  • You know, when someone makes a decent/funny/unique commerical, I find myself watching. Half the time, I see them on the internet before I see them on tv (take the VW unpimp my ride commercials), and if they're any good, I find myself actually saving them on the Tivo to show my friends....
  • Great, just what I need. I just want to timeshift my viewing, and they want to expand the time it takes to watch the show.
  • ..the first time I see them. I might not mind watching them twice, even with a TiVo. But, I can not and WILL NOT sit there and be forced to watch time after time after time just to watch my programs of choice. Whatever KFC does, whatever any company does, if they annoy me I will not watch it.

    TiVo actually made TV good again for me. Previous to our purchase I had actually given up almost all TV. With TiVo, I regularly follow about 8 different series (which all have different seasons so it's not as much
  • I don't think I'd even go from 10x fast forward to 5x fast forward for anything KFC would be offering.
  • Scratch and sniff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dracos (107777) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @03:39AM (#14799204)

    This is pretty much the equivalent to scratch and sniff perfume/cologne ads in magazines. The method here doesn't match the product as well, so I can't imagine this would be as effective.

    People skip ads because they (maybe only subconsciously) realize that they don't care about the ads, because the ads are not content. TV advertising doesn't work on a conscious level anymore. People have learned to use them as an excuse for other things (make popcorn, check laundry), or to simply automatically tune them out, much like studies have shown that people ignore 468 x 60 images on the web.

    A TiVo that can automatically skip ads based on a program's break time schedule is equivalent to AdBlock [mozilla.org]; the difference is that in one, you know when the ads are coming, and in the other you know where they are coming from.

    TV is also in a rough spot because:

    1. There hasn't been shit on TV in at least 20 years, probably longer
    2. 500 channels just means I have to spend more time looking at the program schedule to find the diamond in the rough
    3. The same companies own the networks and the movie studios; the hydras have all chosen which of their heads to cannibalize
    4. Games, Internet, and other activities (except reading, but that's another topic) take away from TV viewership

    In a nutshell, TV is doomed in a similar way to radio. The inevitable disaster of the switch to digital TV may just be the killing blow.

    And I say good riddance, until I can get a la carte programming.

    • A TiVo that can automatically skip ads based on a program's break time schedule is equivalent to AdBlock; the difference is that in one, you know when the ads are coming, and in the other you know where they are coming from.

      Carrying the analogy further, what KFC is doing is equivalent to linking one of those blinking "YOU ARE A WINNER" ads to an online coupon.

    • You will never have a tivo that skips ad's based on the schedule because the networks do not adhere to that schedule. They are usually off by 2-10 minutes in a seemingly random order. now if you had access to the baseband audio that carries the "CUE" audio track you could automatically skip the local AD insertions but not the National ones.

      the only way it can ever be automatic is by scanning the entire video file and determine spots based on criteria. the REplayTV does this and still get's it wrong once i
  • "Buffalo" Just go to this site: http://www.kfc.com/buffalosnacker/ [kfc.com] and enter the code buffalo to get a free sandwich (they'll mail the coupon to you after you sell them your soul)
  • Alright 34 is to young to participate in there campaign cool. I have not been to young to since I was like 9.
  • by krunk4ever (856261) on Saturday February 25, 2006 @04:19AM (#14799282) Homepage
    there is this thing called the Internet and on this Internet, there these things called Forums and some of these forums are tailored for bargain hunters. From http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid =40&threadid=1810259&enterthread=y [anandtech.com] :

    KFC is giving away coupons for a free Buffalo stacker standwich.

    Go to KFC.com and enter code Buffalo

    Hey it's worth a shot for a free sandwich


    • Fortunately for them, they have ways of avoiding coughing up:

      • Internal Server Error - Read
        The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

        Reference #3.44803554.1140863714.2747e51f
  • Wel, DVR's are sometimes used to segregate ads from content so then you can watch what you want.

    Just imagine when ads and content are the same thing, and when you buy, say a DVD, what you're really buying is the ads buried within.

    hm.
  • Well eventually, especially for you guys in the USA, it will be illegal to watch a program then leave the room / change the channel (circumvent) during the adverts. I mean, not watching the adverts of the program you just watched? That is stealing!
  • http://www.kfc.com/buffalosnacker/Checkage.asp [kfc.com] takes you direct to the coupon - no need to watch the advert.
  • PUNCH THE MONKEY AND WIN A BUFFALO CHICKEN SANDWICH!

    Don't use so many caps. It's like yelling. Don't use so many caps. It's like yelling. Don't use so many caps. It's like yelling.

  • If they want me to take the time to watch the commercial and figure something out from it they will have to offer me a lot more than just a coupon for a sandwhich.

    A bicket of chicken a week for a year or something like that. And even with that i would only stop on the commercial if i happened to see if during my 30 second skips.

    I'm paying DirecTV to watch TV not advertisements ... I don't want to see them, and if i am ever forced to see them I will cancel my service in a heart beat.
  • The aim is to combat the use of DVR devices, like Tivo, to skip advertising by introducing interactivity

    Really? Because it really, really looks like the aim is to do something new and fancy and as a result get some editorial publicity for free. And it works ;)
  • Bah, you don't need a TiVo to playback this ad to pause.

    Use a VCR (hardest), another brand of PVR (your computer if you have a TV tuner), watch online [kfc.com], download the video file and use some video editor, etc.
  • I can't comment on the execution, but the general idea is great. It's nice to see the industry come up with an innovative solution instead of just lobbying the government for anti-consumer legislation all the time.

    Also, the summary's wording is confusing: Yum! owns KFC (not the other way around), as well as several other high-profile fast food chains such as Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.
  • "...the chain unveiled a new TV ad Thursday that allows viewers to crack a hidden message if they play the spot back slowly on a digital video recorder or VCR."

    The details are sketchy at best, but it sounds like the real goal might be to slip subliminal messages in through the back door. There are laws against subliminal messages in advertising, and while I am not sure if they really have the motive they claim, or if it is just a smoke and mirrors show to keep people from noticing that these laws are (
  • Why should I give a damn about the secret message in the ad? That's like in A Christmas Story when the kid eagerly waits to get his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring, and when he works out the secret message it says, "DRINK YOUR OVALTINE". I mean, who really gives a shit?

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