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Marketing Wine to Women


pattimw
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Ten years ago I wrote this article that used the whole clothing analogy thing... 'twas aimed for the gay community, and was written "tongue-in-cheek". But it was funny to see that someone has more recently done it and aimed it at women, and not done it tongue in cheek...

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Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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Without wishing to lower the tone too much, I thought I'd post some examples of the way in which wine is marketed specifically to women in the UK. Here, marketing dollars are only spent at the very bottom of the marketplace, on "wine" that doesn't compete so much against other wines, but against alcopops - those multi-hued vodka/rum 'n lemonade mixers. A brand called Lambrini has been the worst offender this year; here's just one complaint made about a specific campaign run in Liverpool to tie in with the Grand National Horse Race:

Objections to a series of four posters, for Lambrini sparkling alcoholic drink, that appeared in railway stations in Liverpool. Each poster showed a photograph of three women, one of whom was holding a glass of Lambrini and all of whom were laughing. The posters also showed a photograph of a bottle of the drink with the caption "girls just wanna have fun at the National".

a. One poster stated "I love a man with a powerful beast between his legs."

b. A second poster stated "Better to be on the jockey who comes last!"

c. A third poster stated "Leather boots and whips. Don''t you just love a day at the races!"

d. A fourth poster stated "What I''d give for a well trained stallion ..."

The complainants objected that the sexual innuendo in the four posters was offensive.

So, the marketers at Lambrini came up with a new suggested campaign (not sure what the tag line was going to be) only for that to also fall foul of the law this summer:

AN ADVERTISING campaign for a Merseyside drinks company has been rejected - because the men in the adverts are too good looking.

Halewood International, which makes Lambrini, has had its latest advertising campaign turned down because it goes against Advertising Standards Association (ASA) rules.

These state that, when advertising alcohol, a firm must not suggest that it will make you more successful with the opposite sex.

Lambrini owner John Halewood said: "I couldn't believe it when the ASA phoned me up. I thought at first that they must be joking when someone phoned and told me the men in the adverts were just far too attractive.

The ASA wrote to Mr Halewood saying: "We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive - i.e. overweight, middle-aged, balding, etc.

"In its current form, we consider that the ad is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed from the ad."

Ah - the "wine" is made in Liverpool?! :wacko:

Sarah

Sarah

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  • 2 weeks later...

article from Business Week

females make up only 60% of wine drinkers. Now, Napa Valley's Beringer Blass Wine Estates is vying for more women's palates with an alcoholic offering designed to address a never-ending concern for many: weight control. On Apr. 4, Beringer Blass, part of Australian beverage giant Foster's Group, plans to launch White Lie Early Season Chardonnay, the first reduced-calorie wine from a major vintner since the 1980s.

International Herald Tribune article

Contrary to wine's male image, in which men score vintages and then hoard them in cellars, women buy 77 percent and consume 60 percent of the wine in the United States. In response, Beringer Blass Wine Estates, owned by the Foster's Group, is introducing a low-alcohol, low-calorie chardonnay called White Lie Early Season Chardonnay.  The wine, with its pedicure red label and romance novel cursive lettering, has a promotion involving Jennifer Weiner, a best-selling chick-lit author. The corks carry messages, familiar white lies like "I'll be home by 7" and "It's my natural color."...  grapes that have been picked early, when the sugar content is lower, then "de-alcoholized" to 9.8 percent.

Appealing to you women here at eG?

For which reasons?

$10 per bottle and only 97 calories per glass ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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My (mostly male) running club has an annual red dress run. If it makes it to Nebraska, I'm sure it will have a great reception on our red dress runs!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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There's a thread here on the broader topic of marketing wine to women.

I always thought most wine was marketed to women anyway. What this effort by Beringer Blass, and many marketing gimmicks by others, show is that, as with many commodities, it's more about marketing than you think. It doesn't matter to many what is in the bottle as much as what they think is in the bottle.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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  • 2 months later...

Along with the annual roundup of their Top 100 Wines, the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine also had an article about wines being marketed to women. The article notes that 56% of US wine drinkers are women and that up until now, wine marketing has mostly targeted men.

Mother's Little Helper

Personally, I resent that the article's assertations about men's use of wines, "...Neanderthal man takes his prized bottle of wine to his cave and shows it off to his buddies, saying "Look what I've got and you can't have." The Neanderthal woman takes her wine to the cave, invites her girlfriends over and shares the bottle with rack of yak."

:raz:

Anyhoo, if you're a woman, did you notice the "target" on your back? If you're a man do you have a secret collection of wines with "pinup" labels?

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Yet another article documenting how some wine marketers insist that the way to sell wine to women is to totally dumb it down. That's really starting to make me crazy. Haven't we seen the low calorie, low alcohol type wine before marketed to carb counters? Same wine, different marketing strategy.

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Let me review the logic here, because I feel like I'm missing something.

Women buy 55% of the wines in the U.S. That's in a market where advertising has typically been geared toward wine geeks or wannabe geeks, with perhaps an assumption that men are the majority of buyers. Therefore, women must find something about traditional marketing to be successful. But now that the industry recognizes the purchasing power of women, it has suddenly decided that, due to its historically stuffy advertising, only Marian the Librarians are currently purchasing and enjoying wine, and that they can significantly bolster wine sales by appealing to Bubbles the Brainless. However, Bebe is sensitive and probably a lot smarter than they give her credit for, and while she enjoys novelty, she won't repeatedly buy a product that is a subject of ridicule among any of her friends and boyfriends. And while pink is fine for baby girls, how many women do you know with pink kitchens? Pink bedrooms? (Okay, maybe a bath here and there.)

What am I missing?

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Let me review the logic here, because I feel like I'm missing something.

Women buy 55% of the wines in the U.S.  That's in a market where advertising has typically been geared toward wine geeks or wannabe geeks, with perhaps an assumption that men are the majority of buyers.  Therefore, women must find something about traditional marketing to be successful.  But now that the industry recognizes the purchasing power of women, it has suddenly decided that, due to its historically stuffy advertising, only Marian the Librarians are currently purchasing and enjoying wine, and that they can significantly bolster wine sales by appealing to Bubbles the Brainless.  However, Bebe is sensitive and probably a lot smarter than they give her credit for, and while she enjoys novelty, she won't repeatedly buy a product that is a subject of ridicule among any of her friends and boyfriends. And while pink is fine for baby girls, how many women do you know with pink kitchens? Pink bedrooms?  (Okay, maybe a bath here and there.)

What am I missing?

I guess I'm missing it too.

"We are doing it for the women" - yeah right they are doing it for their pocketbook.

This will be another one hit wonder and will sit along with Arbor Mist, wine coolers and the white Zin's.

The shame of it is most people think this is what wine is. When I was in high school I did my share of drinking, when we drank wine it was Riunite, Yago San Gria, Boones Farm. In college I worked in a wine shop, the owner used to have the employee wine tastings to better understand & sell the wine. At first I protested saying "wine gives me a headache, I don't like it" he laughed when he learned what I was drinking. Than I tried the real stuff and never looked back.

Of course there is a learning curve and I stated off with more fruit forward wines and expanded my palate from there.

If they really want to market to women - educate them. Sponser a show on Food network, have it hosted by Rachel Ray, Tyler Florence or Alton Brown (or maybe a number of hosts each taking a show) make it fun, start of with lighter styles maybe more fruity. But use real wines none of the dumbed down dreck.

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I went to the wine store last night and saw a display for "Cheeky Chick" wines. Just googled it and found it's an Australian brand with a red and white. The white blend is the unfortunately named Pecker's Blend :shock: The importer's web site has shelf talkers with Parker scores and everything. That provided what we like to call in my house a "wtf moment." This too will pass with all the other stupid marketing strategies that brought us the Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers, Zima, hard cider, ad nauseum.

I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but I think the genius stroke of marketing to women wine consumers has been putting Gina Gallo in the Gallo of Sonoma commericals. I even identify with a hard working lady in jeans who works in the family business - which is the image they project (reality about the company notwithstanding).

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I think the problem people are having here isn't so much with "marketing wine to women" as with "marketing wine" period.

Have any of you ever really bought a bottle of wine because you saw an ad for it or liked the name or the label? That kind of marketing isn't directed at people like us.

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The white blend is the unfortunately named Pecker's Blend  :shock:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Omigod, I don't think I could drink it!

God forbid they come out with a rose'.

If they really want to market to women - educate them. Sponser a show on Food network, have it hosted by Rachel Ray, Tyler Florence or Alton Brown (or maybe a number of hosts each taking a show) make it fun, start of with lighter styles maybe more fruity. But use real wines none of the dumbed down dreck.

Excellent suggestion. I would really love to see some wine shows that are not the boring let's-tour-your-Architectural-Digest-house-then-walk-through-the vineyard drone. Andrea Immer's shows are fun and sparky--I enjoy watching hers.

I even think it's great for wine shops to have 'theme' nights with floral labels, or critter labels, or wines-to-go-with-sushi. At least women will be introduced to some good wines.

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Mary Baker

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The white blend is the unfortunately named Pecker's Blend  :shock:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

Omigod, I don't think I could drink it!

God forbid they come out with a rose'.

If they really want to market to women - educate them. Sponser a show on Food network, have it hosted by Rachel Ray, Tyler Florence or Alton Brown (or maybe a number of hosts each taking a show) make it fun, start of with lighter styles maybe more fruity. But use real wines none of the dumbed down dreck.

Excellent suggestion. I would really love to see some wine shows that are not the boring let's-tour-your-Architectural-Digest-house-then-walk-through-the vineyard drone. Andrea Immer's shows are fun and sparky--I enjoy watching hers.

I even think it's great for wine shops to have 'theme' nights with floral labels, or critter labels, or wines-to-go-with-sushi. At least women will be introduced to some good wines.

Yeah, but the kind of companies behind shallow femme-friendly marketing gimmicks have no more desire to educate women about wine than Budweiser has to educate men about beer. They're not in the wine game, they're just unloading another liquid commodity.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Have any of you ever really bought a bottle of wine because you saw an ad for it or liked the name or the label?  That kind of marketing isn't directed at people like us.

Guilty. If I have to pick between two bottles of quality wine I usually choose the one with the cooler label.

I don't mind wineries marketing the wines, I guess I mind them targeting an audience with the stance of "we know what women want" and it's a dumbed down version of the real thing. Almost a "don't worry your pretty little head with the details (it would only confuse you)" attitude, that's what bothers me.

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I was just in a suburban Chicago Greek restaurant, and they had table tents from Boutari vineyards advertising a new white wine marketed specifically for women. They were emphasizing the fruit flavors in the wine. There was a contest for a spa weekend attached to it somehow. The wine was quite expensive by the glass ($7.50) for that restaurant. I didn't try it.

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Have any of you ever really bought a bottle of wine because you saw an ad for it or liked the name or the label?  That kind of marketing isn't directed at people like us.

This is still how a great amount of wine gets sold. A lot of effort goes into the bottle and label design as well as the name. Not just for standing out for the first-time wine buyer, but also for being easy to recognize for the return customer. And if said customer picks up the bottle to take a look at it, BINGO! There's a much greater chance that someone will buy a wine after picking up the bottle.

I'm pretty sure I've provided this example before somewhere in this forum: Let's take a wine for which quality and price are not an issue -- Sutter Home White Zinfandel. When this wine was first put on the market, it was in a green bottle with a beige paper label. After Sutter Home switched to clear glass with a clear pressurized label, sales increased by 45% in less than one year.

Sales of Fat Bastard wines are steadily increasing from year to year. It's a non-offesive (and nondescript) vin de pays, but people like the name. As long as the wine is palatable (not great, but merely drinkable), there will be repeat purchases.

Sometime after the 1995 vintage, Donnhoff changed it's label from script-like lettering (written at an angle) to a cleaner block lettering look, centered on the label. Quality has always been high at Donnhoff, but the newer label is easier to pick out in the German aisle. Kurt Darting has now followed suit with "Darting" in large block letters centered on the label instead of "Kurt Darting" tucked away in the corner.

I have no research to support the following, but I would wager that Pierre Sparr's "ONE" wine has outperformed anything else from Sparr, in terms of sales, since being released. It has a label that is more eye-catching that other Sparr wines. And it's little mystery that Zind-Humbrecht has now come out with "Zind" in the same fashion.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Have any of you ever really bought a bottle of wine because you saw an ad for it or liked the name or the label? 

Of course I have. I STILL buy wines cause the name or label intrigues me especially if it's a value type wine. This is the way I discover a lot of my cheap, drinkable favorites. There's a German or Alsatian that has a picture of a bunch of fish and shellfish on the label. No clue what the name is or winery, but I bought it cause the label had cute pictures of lobster on it. It's a nice drinkable wine and I would tell friends to go buy the "fish wine" from my local store.

I'd really be interested to see the age demographics of women who are purchasing wine. I think the "pink is for girls" type marketing might work for the partying 20-something crowd, but I'm not sure the harried working Mom who controls the pocketbook on grocery purchases in the US is going to fall for that. I have a feeling these guys may be totally missing the point.

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  • 1 month later...

In the Village Voice:

A Little White Lie Hurts Everyone; Patronizing Wine for Women

But the line between Sex & the City cheeky and total denigration is a tenuous one, and it doesn't take a genius to assess which side White Lie's marketing strategy falls on.

Only one thing is more depressing than a wine that shamelessly plays into feminine stereotypes and insecurities: a wine that shamelessly plays into feminine stereotypes and insecurities—and sells well.

At last, someone else is getting tired of pink marketing! I wonder what 2006 will bring in terms of "marketing wine to women" . . .

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  • 1 month later...

Editor-in-chief Michele Ostrove speaks up on the creation, concept and future plans for Wine Adventure on the Women Wine Critics Board site.

Coincidentally, we launched the magazine at about the same time the wine industry "woke up" to the need to appeal to women – based on their own observations in tasting rooms and on startling statistics that women comprise some 65 percent of wine buyers. We are definitely seeing more and more wineries gearing their marketing efforts to women, with pretty labels, catchy names and even special wines. While I don’t necessarily agree with the premise that women want something different in a wine, I do view these campaigns as a positive sign that our buying power and interests are finally being recognized. Hopefully, not too far down the road, we won’t be "dumbed down" to in wine advertising, ignored by restaurant sommeliers, or assumed to only have a palate for low-calorie, "light" wines.

Feel free to leave comments at the WWCB site, but I am also hoping that Michele will visit us here in the eGullet Society forums to answer questions and comments about the new magazine.

Has anyone seen the latest issues? What do you think?

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Well, you can't see the issues without subscribing. On the web site, you can read a sentence or two about a handful of articles in each issue, but that's it.

From what I can tell, it's another lifestyle magazine in the vein of Town and Country, Traveler, Gourmet, and Wine Spectator (yes, those last two are more lifestyle magazines than anything else). If the message is women enjoy wine as a part of events instead of on its own, then they're achieving their goal. I guess the proof will be in the amount of subscriptions. Any information on that?

Again, I've gone on record a number of times before as saying that wine is already marketed to women more than men.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Wine Enthusiast: Labels Gone Wild

“No one appreciates blatant marketing,” says John Gillespie, president of the Wine Market Council and a partner in consulting firm Wine Colleagues. “The trick is to create product appeal without being overt.”

(Karen) MacNeil also finds “women’s wines” slightly condescending. “There’s a fine line between being culturally playful and [being] demeaning,” she warns.

Do you think they're hearing from women about this?

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I don't want to start a flame war, but the fact that 55 or 56 percent of the wine consumed in this country is by women is misleading. 95% of the wine consumed in this country is what can generally be referred to as "jug wine" or "plonk". However, the majority of wine writers and "wine dorks" are not interested in this wine. We (yes I consider myself a wine dork) tend to focus on the high end wine, that is rarer, and much more expensive. Women also do not drink as much beer or hard liquor as men do as a group. (that is not to say that women do not drink beer or liquor, just not as much as men) I think that the fine wine end of the spectrum is dominated by men, though as others have said, women tend to have better palates. I think women are just too smart to spend that much money on wine, nor are they as likely as men to obsess on it.

Personally I think this type of marketing is insulting to women and that wineries would be better served in finding ways of making wine drinking seem to be the thing that is indicative of a confident, self assured, powerful woman, not something that had to be dumbed down. BTW, don't ever tell Helen Turley or Gina Gallo that women are not into wine.

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The Wine Enthusiast article mentions women wine drinkers as one possible reason for the labels gone wild phenomenon. I was in a Twin Cities wine shop today that is having a huge sale. The place was packed. More women than men BTW, and they weren't stocking up on Woodbridge.

However, I think the following excerpt is probably a more accurate analysis of what we are seeing with wine labels:

There are reportedly more than 10,000 wine brands offered to U.S. wine lovers, in varieties from Albariño to Zinfandel. Enter any wine store and you have to choose from literally hundreds of bottles, your eyes assaulted by the visual cacophony of labels and packages, each seemingly more colorful than its neighbor. Producers are all trying to stand out from the competition and attract the buyer, especially the young, hip consumer.

Also, and I've written this before, if the marketing pro can get you to pick up the bottle (presumably to look at or in response to the eye-catching label), the battle is half won.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I don't want to start a flame war, but the fact that 55 or 56 percent of the wine consumed in this country is by women is misleading.  95% of the wine consumed in this country is what can generally be referred to as "jug wine" or "plonk".  However, the majority of wine writers and "wine dorks" are not interested in this wine.  We (yes I consider myself a wine dork) tend to focus on the high end wine, that is rarer, and much more expensive.  Women also do not drink as much beer or hard liquor as men do as a group.  (that is not to say that women do not drink beer or liquor, just not as much as men)  I think that the fine wine end of the spectrum is dominated by men, though as others have said, women tend to have better palates.  I think women are just too smart to spend that much money on wine, nor are they as likely as men to obsess on it.

Personally I think this type of marketing is insulting to women and that wineries would be better served in finding ways of making wine drinking seem to be the thing that is indicative of a confident, self assured, powerful woman, not something that had to be dumbed down.  BTW, don't ever tell Helen Turley or Gina Gallo that women are not into wine.

I am not sure that the generalizations and stereotypes of ten or more years ago apply today.

The terms plonk and high end are used but I am not sure what these mean exactly.

Also fine wine and cost are two different things--more so today than ever.

To me a wine "dork" or "geek" is someone who would revel in finding an obscure high quality wine that sells for a reasonable amount of money.

They like the hunt and of course, the trophy.

It is not so easy to apply price anymore.

In my experience a high powered, self assured, confident man-- or woman is often an asshole.

(excuse my use of this coarse term) when it comes to wine and many other things.

I have met many many people (men and women) who are very successful and are very much into wine. For the most part they are wonderful people who love sharing their knowledge and passion and they are appreciative of wines that span a wide range of cost.

They are far from snobs and love a good Muscadet as much as a fine old Bordeaux recognizing the benefits and pleasures of each.

Most of the people who I would say are snobs are snobs out of insecurity--this crosses income demos.

Men do tend to be "enthusiasts" about things like wine, stereo systems, cars/automobiles, hunting

etc in greater numbers than women but I am noticing women involved in these things in greater numbers than ever.

It should be noted that conversely, women seem to be drawn to other things in greater numbers than men.--antiqueing? flea markets.--there are plenty of guys into these things though.

But I would say that when it comes to appreciation--men and women can enjoy each other's passions. maybe they enjoy them in different ways.

Women and men are sensitive to different messages and respond in different ways. marketers know this and exploit it.--good sense on their part.

The battle of the labels IMOP--is really most torrid in the lower to mid priced wines ((not plonk).

Let's remember (as mentioned in the article) distinctive well made wines from Randal Graham's

many offerings to Ch Mouton have used label art to market/promote their wines.

Also Kenwood and others.

Wines like Fat Bastard, Red Bicyclette and Yellowtail are battling for the five to fifteen dollar price range--that is everyday drinking wines. One may be critical of any or all of them but they are certainly not "plonk." They are well made wines of varying degrees of interest. It is not as important as where these grapes are from but rather the wine is "designed" to be user friendly and inexpensive.

If one wants a more "expressive" wine then:

Wine making methods have improved today so that there are many very good wines from France -vin du pays and Italy (especially some very interesting whites), Spain even Germany is starting to produce some really nice rieslings--all around ten bucks on shelves in this country.

I have also started to see some interesting well made wines from Eastern Europe.

If I were having oysters then yes maybe a 1983 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc would be nice (a transcendent experience) but I really enjoy them with any crisp dry white--muscadet or sancerre or a Chenin Blanc from the Loire or Washington State.

I think women tend to have less ego and posture less --they may be self assured but reticent about blowing their own horn. I see this at wine tastings--I would say that they are no less appreciative of fine wines-- regardless of the cost.

I have seen women be more receptive to discussing wines in wine shops than many men and more willing to try new wines (even wines that cost a lot). They love to taste new wines as much as any men. They are less likely to prattle on about "killer juice." (but so are many of the male wine connoisseurs I know).

maybe the stereotypes and generalizations are changing --they tend to do that!

maybe there is a lot of gray area and crossover.

When I attended the IWC level four advanced certificate course in wine and spirits and there were more women than men in attendance and most of the instructors were women!

I do know that right now there are more well made wines from more places at all price points available and we--men and women will enjoy them (maybe in our own ways).

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