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#RedArmy #BeatIt #MondayFun #Laughs

June 22, 2020

#FACTS #Fashion #Racism #BlackLivesMatter

June 8, 2020







Image and Content Courtesy of @bxnpxrk

If #BlackLivesMatter to #brands, where are your #BlackBoardMembers?

June 5, 2020

Brands that profess to support racial justice on social media without a single black board member aren’t helping the cause, they’re just being hypocrites.


Once upon a time I worked for Louis Vuitton. I got to know the people, the products, the history, the brand. And I really liked it. I still have a battered LV roller suitcase that follows me around the world and a dozen great memories of doing things with the people from the brand that was both challenging and a lot of fun.

At the time I was working there, the communications team at Louis Vuitton had commissioned the God-like film director Wong Kar-wai to make an extended cinema ad called ‘Journeys’. It was designed to reconnect Louis Vuitton with its heritage of travel and it was just about the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. When the team at Louis Vuitton first showed it to me in Paris, I literally had tears in my eyes.

Back then I was always on planes and trains and the ad not only spoke to me, it crystallised the reason I loved Vuitton so much. I started to show the ad to other executives I worked with and then to MBA students. This, I explained, was how a brand reconnects with its DNA and builds an emotional connection.

About six months later I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’d finished teaching an evening class and wandered aimlessly into a late-night movie theatre. As I settled into my seat, I heard the unmistakable initial notes of the ‘Journeys’ ad. Wow, I thought to myself, this will be a chance to see the thing on the big screen and with an audience of consumers who don’t know this amazing film like I do.

The 90-second ad began to play and the combined effect of seeing it with others, in the real world and on the big screen had an even bigger impact on me than I was expecting. As with most emotional, long-form video the brand took its time to reveal itself. The audience sat spellbound as the ad played until, with precisely two seconds to go, the Louis Vuitton logo appeared across the screen.

The cinema erupted. “Bullshit!” shouted one audience member. Boos rang out around the theatre. A woman, sat directly in front of me, leaned across to her partner and said: “Total fucking nonsense.”

And I was stunned. I had expected shock, awe and perhaps a ripple of applause. Instead everyone in that theatre – except me – hated it. I ignored much of the movie that followed as I puzzled over this very odd turn of events. Gradually I began to realise that I had, once again, forgotten the oldest rule of marketing: you are not the consumer.

Worse than that, I was part of the brand. I was paid by it. I knew the people. Knew the strategy. Wanted it to succeed. I had watched that ad with the intent and focus typical of all marketers, and completely alien to all the consumers who were being targeted by it. And I had watched it some 50 times more since. I had showed it to others. Gloried in its brilliance. I thought it would work wonders on the consumer.

But I was not the consumer. They sat all around me in that darkened theatre. And they were not in the mood for French luxury. The global financial crash was still sending ripples of economic pain across America. Plus, Cambridge leans very left. If I had exited the theatre and walked five blocks east I would have reached Noam Chomsky’s MIT office. If I had kept going another five minutes I would have quickly been subsumed into the blue-collar birthplace of Mark Wahlberg.

The ad was a disaster for this audience. I had been blinded by being inside the bubble of its production, and missed the implications of market orientation and seeing the ad through the consumer’s eyes as a result. The only eyes that ultimately count.

The Marketing Bubble

We marketers live in a branding bubble of our own creation. We think brands matter. That our brand matters. We think advertising is important. We think other people care. And with each passing year our branding bubble appears to become less and less transparent. An increasing proportion of marketers lose touch with the consumers they are meant to take their coordinates from, and fall for the bullshit that their brands and their communications make any kind of difference to society at large – and that this impact is a crucial part of their job.

Companies need to become the change they are tweeting about. Walk the walk before you tweet the tweet.

This week that bubble was all but impossible to ignore. America has been riven by the disgraceful, horrific murder of George Floyd. And bubble-bound marketers have been climbing over themselves to speak out, make a difference, take a stand and generally do the usual socially aware hanky-panky that makes them feel good about themselves while making zero difference to anything or anyone out there in the real world.

Inside the marketing bubble we think brands and marketers are being “brave”. Outside, the world burns and no-one gives a fuck about our cute little tweets, clever social media strategy or blacked-out logos.

Take the tawdry corporate soixante-neuf that played out this week between Nike and Adidas. It was a gag-inducing example of bubble marketing at its worst. First, Nike launched a monochrome ad across social media. “Don’t think this doesn’t affect you…Let’s all be part of the change,” it exclaimed as a tinkling piano played a melancholy tune in the background.

While it’s great that Nike wants to make a statement about racism and the lack of representation that African Americans face, it should also be apparent that Nike is not part of the change it seeks to promote. With the exception of its social media campaign, which, let’s all agree, makes two fifths of fuck-all difference to anything, it really isn’t doing much to confront this issue.

Just look at Nike’s leadership team, shown below. I am not talking about the long list of external directors or the lower level officers of the company. I am talking about the people that actually run Nike: its leadership team.


Despite focusing on sports that have a significant skew towards African American athletes, despite making much of its North American profit from black consumers, despite signing many of the world’s most famous athletes of colour as spokespeople, its leadership team is about as black as I am.

And then, just as the corporate hypocrisy was fading, Adidas jumped in and forced me to run for the bathroom once again. The sporting rival was so moved by Nike’s video, it retweeted the ad with its own message of support. “Together is how we move forward,” tweeted Adidas. “Together is how we make change.”


If you want to see a literal definition of what the marketing bubble looks like, go onto social media and look at all the industry arsehats retweeting what a “powerful” and “amazing” moment of solidarity that tweet represented. They are literally storming the White House and choking to death black men on the street in the middle of the day, and marketers are getting emotional about retweeting a video that was, in and of itself, total dog piss in the first place.

Together is not “how we make change”. It’s as socially unrealistic as it is grammatically incorrect. We make change by enacting it within our organisations and therefore becoming the exemplars for others. If you care about black lives, you don’t get inspired by an Instagram post. You get inspired by black faces in the boardroom. Companies need to become the change they are tweeting about. Walk the walk before you tweet the tweet. Though that second step really isn’t necessary.

But Adidas cannot do that. Once again, its leadership team is just as white-bread as Nike despite also being in a predominantly, or certainly significantly, African American-influenced business. Its own executive board looks like it has just come in from a fun day of golf at an exclusive Scandinavian country club.


I am certainly not saying any of these senior people are racists. I am not even lobbying for more diversity at the executive levels of these companies – it would be nice but I have no clue about how diversity and leadership actually works. What I am saying is that this social media support for Black Lives Matter is not reflected in the way these companies operate and that, rather than lecturing consumers and society on how we should behave, they might want to put down their smartphones and sort-themselves-the-fuck-out first.

Widespread Hypocrisy

And that stark blend of hypocrisy and social commentary – do as I tweet, not as I actually do – is everywhere in marketing. It’s not fair picking on just Nike and Adidas when a huge number of companies pay social media lip service to black lives, while simultaneously ensuring that none of those lives are lived out at the executive level at the very top of these companies.

Take Spotify, for example. In a very competitive field of entrants, it probably emerged as the most stupidly patronising brand of the week.

Not content with a home page that featured blacked-out channels, playlists and podcasts, the streaming service also inserted an eight-minute and 46-second track of silence across selected playlists and podcasts “as a solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated”. A Spotify spokesperson noted that “we are using the power of our platform to stand with Black creators, amplify their voices, and accelerate meaningful conversation and long-needed change”.


Then there was L’Oréal telling us that “speaking out is worth it”. I really hope so. Because I am telling L’Oréal that rather than advising the rest of us on how we should be living our lives it should take a long, hard look at its leadership team. Because change begins at home, not on social media.


And the same goes for that most worthy of companies, Apple. The brand was also among those observing ‘Blackout Tuesday’. It spent the day using its various platforms to “support Black artists, Black creators and Black communities”. Its usual Beats 1 radio schedule was cancelled for the day and replaced with an all-black playlist. Apple Music was also stripped back to focus on a single playlist ‘For Us, By Us’, featuring exclusively black artists.

Which is great. But kind of not great. You have that feeling of watching your uncle Terry and his wife trying to dance to hip-hop at a wedding. If Apple were really serious about the issue of black representation, it would move the focus away from messaging and music, and towards its leadership team and corporate advancement. I do not think it is appropriate to be talking about a “steadfast support of the Black voices that define music” but have none of them in your executive team. At least your logo is black, I suppose.


Again, I am not saying that companies have to have black people in their leadership teams as a general policy. But if you believe what you are telling the market about black voices, it should start with switching out some of your white executives in your upper echelons for executives of colour. Not because these people are bad. Not because you have to encourage more diversity in the boardroom. But because you are claiming to care about black issues and black representation – so do something meaningful about it.

Of course, that won’t happen. Social media is as easy and inexpensive to implement as it is ineffective. The ultimate box-ticking tactic. And it has the added chaff value of making it look like a company gives a shit about black people, which will, paradoxically, enable them to continue to employ absolutely none of them at the top of the company.

“We may not currently have any black people on the board,” comes the prepared answer, “but did you see our fierce tweet about inequality last week or the blacked-out logo we produced the week before? Respect.”

Lack of Change

I could literally keep writing this column, and getting angrier and angrier for the rest of the day. The research I did for it took about an hour and resulted in (checks notes) 46 examples of companies that claim to care about black lives and yet have managed to construct a leadership team – in this advanced age of 2020 – that manages to steadfastly avoid any and all black faces.

And, before you ask, I am not trying to be politically correct here. I am a man who uses words like ‘fuck’ and ‘tits’ – a lot. The long suffering sub-editors at Marketing Week will confirm, readily, that I gave up on appearing socially and politically aware a long time ago. I really don’t care about any of that PC bullshit and am strongly suspicious of those that trot it out at every possible occasion.

But that lack of personal concern for ‘cool’, and the giving of not even the faintest of fuck about how I come across, makes me weirdly qualified to speak up against the companies that use social media to project one image while concealing an almost total disregard for equality and fairness at their highest strata of corporate strategy. If these companies really wanted to do something meaningful, they would get off social media and get on with changing who is in charge. One black COO is worth a billion ‘Black Lives Matter’ tweets.

There was a rumour of a famous industry meeting between Beyoncé and Reebok last year. They supposedly met to discuss the possibility of a co-branded collection. According to reports, the Reebok team were midway through their pitch when the star stopped the presentation and asked: “Is this the team that’ll be working on my product?”

The Reebok group, who have since steadfastly denied the incident, confirmed that this was indeed the project team. At which point Beyoncé got up and walked towards the door. “Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin colour, and where I’m from, and what I want to do,” she reportedly said over her shoulder. And exited the room.

It’s a confronting story. But you can see Beyoncé’s point. If you are serious about black lives, show me some. Otherwise it’s talk. Social media talk. From inside a brand bubble that remains part of the problem. Not part of any long-term solution.


Courtesy of

#PadMan #FilmReview #Entrepreneurship #WomenEmpowerment

June 5, 2020

Bollywood films have always been on our agenda. We do film screening of one classic Bollywood film each year. This year, however, due to the pandemic of Covid-19, it’s very unlikely for Bollywood Fever to take place as planned.

Nevertheless, this does not stop us from sharing good Indian films to our audience. The film we would like to share today is a fairly new one—Pad Man (2018). Pad Man tells the story of an ordinary man who deeply loves his wife. He is a normal repairman with only a junior high school degree. Simply for his wife’s health during her period every month, he has developed a low-cost sanitary pad production machine. However, during this process, he has gone through the difficulties that people cannot imagine. Just like what he says in the film ‘This cheap pad, has just cost me many sleepless nights, a wife, a mother, a village and all my self-respect. All it took was my brains, and a debt of 90,000 Rupees to make this cheap pad’. Things start to change after he meets the very important person in his life—Pari. She helps him unconditionally along this entrepreneurship journey until he reaches the peak of success at the end of the film.



<Pad Man> Lakshmi and Pari

The first message this film tries to convey is gender equality and women empowerment. The film is set in India in the 1990s. At that time, especially in rural areas, women’s period is considered to be unclean. So during their periods, women will consciously move the bed outside and avoid contact with any men, including their husbands, because they consider themselves as ‘dirty’ by default and cannot eat with her family. The kitchen is also their restricted area, and female students cannot go to school during their period too. Due to the double suppression of economic conditions and traditional culture, they can only use old clothes, dirty rags, and even leaves and sawdust as ‘pad’ during period. The hygiene condition is so worrying that they are easily infected with diseases and even die. The male protagonist Lakshmi, out of his incomparable love for his wife, leaves the job aside and is obsessed with the ‘big cause’ of self-making sanitary pads. But this road is not easy to go. He is misunderstood by his family and despised by the villagers. The whole village even wanted to hang him to death. Moreover, his wife could not understand him or bear his “craziness” and goes back to her maiden house. Various difficulties comes one after another, but all these never overwhelm him. He wants to make his wife’s humiliation into respect.

The second half of the film sees the turning point. After having failed in making pads by himself for many times, he decides to make the pad machine instead of making pads. From this moment, he has officially begun his entrepreneurship journey. While on this journey, another woman appears—Pari, an artist who has an MBA degree and is equipped with modern independent mindset and strong business acumen, who ‘makes Lakshmi fly’ in his own words. They work together. Lakshmi makes pads and she sells them. As time goes on, more and more women join them and start learning how to make the machine and selling pads. They have created jobs for hundreds of thousands of women in rural India. Just as he says in the film, ‘Besides doing this job, this pad can soak up all the problems in these women’s lives’.


Eventually, he is invited to the United Nations to give a talk on his pad story and women empowerment. He addresses in his talk that ‘I believe, big men and strong men don’t make country strong. When women are strong, mothers are strong, sisters are strong, then country strong! Today the pad machine is making women strong. They use pads and live life to the fullest.’ 


Lakshmi has a deep sense of mission that he must not only give his wife dignity, but also give dignity to 600 million women across India by creating jobs for them. After all these unremitting efforts, he finally succeeds and breaks the country’s long-standing stereotypes against women. After the film was released in India, society views towards women’s period have been changed greatly. The movie is set out to solve the most practical problems in society.

The second message we have seen is certainly about entrepreneurship. This subject is particularly revealed in the second half of the film. At the beginning Lakshmi only has an idea of making one hygienic sanitary pad for his wife, but later this one pad turns into millions for millions of women in India. Initially it was only Lakshmi and Pari, these two persons working together in Lakshmi’s small warehouse. As days pass by, more and more women also men join their workforce and run the business together with them. These women who joined later on start working and making money for themselves. They are also allocated shares by Lakshmi and able to earn a living for themselves and their families. The whole ‘Lakshmi Enterprise’ creates not only pad machines and pads, makes profit for the business, but also stems radical social change—he creates employment for millions of Indian rural women who would have never had access to financial resources due to the traditional cultural values imposed on them and socio-economic pressure in rural society. He encourages Indian rural women to start production by themselves and achieve economic independence which can not only greatly increase the use rate of pads for women’s health, but also bring a lot of employment opportunities for women. This is such a significantly huge social change across India and this also makes Lakshmi a successful social entrepreneur.


His spirit of fearlessness and courage to think and to do, his ability to cooperate with others and turn ideas into reality, along with his contribution to the country of India and some countries in the world has truly inspired us in every aspect in our entrepreneurship journey.

The film Pad Man is based on the real story of the Indian social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham—the real Pad Man! He is the inventor of the low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and is credited for innovating grassroots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. He has provided employment opportunities for millions of unemployed women in India. In 2014, he was included in Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.




This is a movie that we highly recommend to watch especially during the quarantine. Watch the Pad Man movie on Netflix.


Courtesy of ‘The Designer

#BlackLivesMatter #BlackHistory #BlackFashion #BlackDesigners

June 4, 2020

Just SOME of the extraordinary black designers who have been omitted from a whitewashed fashion history – You might be uneducated until you see this. Hope others in fashion can learn too.


Courtesy of @bxnpxrk

South East Salon 06 – The Future of Fine Art in a Post Pandemic World

May 19, 2020

Blue Green and White Classic Real Estate Instagram Post (3)

At NEXUS Creative HQ, we are delighted to be hosting the next South East Salon, the brainchild of the super cool Jason Page – serial connector of people. Join us on our NEXUS Facebook page for a live session on Monday 25th May at 7pm, for ‘South East Salon 06 – The Future of Fine Art in a Post Pandemic World’. The event will be live-streamed and will explore how artists are creating, exhibiting and selling their work as we all navigate and engage #art and one another in response to #socialdistancing and #self-isolation.

The guest roll of honour includes Ainsley Burrows, Kimberly Knox, Roxanne Williams, Rossella Black and Croydon’s very own Swakara Atwell-Bennett and Natasha Caruana

TIME: 7pm

WHEN: Monday 25th May

WHERE: NEXUS Facebook Live



SALON 06 Guest Bios


Ainsley Burrows – ( Ainsley is a Brooklyn-based painter, events producer and spoken word artist with decades on all three disciplines. He and his partner Laurielle produce The Sweet Spot, a Black erotica event that has travelled the world and currently takes place online on Thursday evenings. He also starred in an advert for Guinness featuring his spoken word work. Ubiquita Worldwide is producing an exhibit of Maroons Rebellion, one of Ainsley’s most recent collections, in South East London in October for Black History Month. He is a multi-disciplenary artist who is coming soon to galleries near us all in South East London.

Ainsley Burrows was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, migrating to the U.S. in 1990 at the tender age of 15. Today, Ainsley is an Internationally acclaimed poet and author who has performed at festivals, venues and institutions across Europe, America, Canada and the Caribbean, receiving numerous awards.

Ainsley is a self-taught painter. He started painting as a child but abandoned the craft for a more public pursuit, performance poetry. But he had not shaken the bug completely; and 12 years ago he started painting again. Since then he has created several series of paintings, but none as ambitious as The Maroons series of 125 paintings.

Website –

Instagram –

Guinness advert  –

The Sweet Spot –



Kimberly Knox – President and CEO of Ubiquita Worldwide, Kim is a multi-disciplinary producer and creator with over 20 years experience in entertainment, media and marketing. Having produced experiences and campaigns for dozens of brands and companies including Brooklyn Academy of Music, GEN ART, Keep A Child Alive, Red Bull and many others, Ubiquita Worldwide is currently producing Ainsley’s Maroons Rebellion exhibition in South East London, as well as other locations globally.

Linked In –

Ubiquita Worldwide –

The short film that Kim has produced about The Sweet Spot –

Instagram –



Natasha Caruana – Natasha is a London-based artist working across photography, moving image and installation. work explores narratives of love, betrayal and fantasy, underpinned by a performative and playful approach. She is based in South East London. Natasha is a lecturer at University of Arts London, as well as the creator of Work Show, grow a platform that supports emerging artists with workshops and opportunities for collaboration.

Website –

Work Show Grow –

Instagram –



Swakara Atwell-Bennett  – Swakara is founder and curator of Better Shared, a platform to discover contemporary art by some of today’s most exciting emerging artists from Africa and the diaspora. She is a member of Nexus members club.

Better Shared –

Instagram –



Roxanne Williams – Born in South East London, Roxanne is an interdisciplinary visual artist and designer who explores identity and celebrates self-worth. Her vibrant paintings showcase predominantly women with black features, mirroring her Jamaican heritage and the beauty in being ‘other’. Her works entice you to spend time and reflect on their familiarity whether on canvas, wood or clothing. She founded Crazivity, a platform to focus on the collaborative aspects of her practice including curating group shows, cultural pop ups and live art events such as ‘Merging Inks’. She has worked with venues such as Richmix, Westminster Reference Library, The Vaults in London and internationally. In March 2019 she completed an art residency and exhibition titled Selfie Love in Penang, Malaysia. Most recently, prior to lock down she was an Artist in Residence in East London’s Toynbee hall.

Websites –

Instagram –


Rossella Black.  Rossella worked for 20 years in the commercial departments of The Economist Newspaper in Paris and London.  Reinventing herself in 2007, I she became Arts Librarian at Westminster Reference Library, coordinating a dedicated arts space, raising the profile of the Art & Performing Arts collection.

Moving to Lambeth Libraries in 2017 Rossella engaged colleagues, partners and stakeholders with her vision of Libraries as innovative and inspiring platforms for a range of art shows that attract a wide and varied audience.




NEXUS Talks with Aleit Swanepoel

May 11, 2020


Tune in to @nexuscreativehq on IG LIVE tomorrow as we link up with Aleit Swanepoel. Founder & Chairman of South Africa’s wedding & event coordination consultancy, The Aleit Group

Aleit Swanepoel @aleitswanepoel has gathered great acclaim both locally and abroad for his extravagant trademark events.

Aleit Swanepoel (@aleitswanepoel) is the Founder & Chairman of South Africa’s premier wedding and event coordination consultancy, The Aleit Group. The name Aleit has become synonymous with bespoke occasions and celebrations and has gathered great acclaim both locally and abroad for his extravagant trademark events. The Aleit Group has grown to be the best Event & Wedding Coordination company in South Africa, with over 70 staff members on his team to create unforgettable weddings, events and social celebrations. Aleit seeks opportunity and constantly breaks trends with his new ideas. When he sees a gap in the market, he fills it with greatness and perfection.

Instinct, a sense of humor and a genuine calling to serve, best describes Aleit. He is an innovator, a perfectionist and a creative whiz. Aleit is not inspired by trends, but rather by his day-to-day experiences, through travelling the world and the people he loves.

Set your reminder for 2PM GMT as NEXUS member and host @kamillahrose catches up with Aleit on IG LIVE. You don’t want to miss it.

NEXUS Links 👇

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RIP Tony Allen – #musician #drummer #FelaKuti

May 1, 2020

Switzerland Music - May 2015

Tony Allen, the legendary drummer who helped define Afrobeat during his time with Fela Kuti, died Thursday at the age of 79. As a member of Kuti’s band Africa 70, Allen helped revolutionize the art of drumming, anchoring and propelling classic albums like 1973’s Gentleman, 1975’s Expensive Shit, and the Afrobeat legend’s most enduring work, 1976’s Zombie. Each release depended on Allen’s slippery, ferocious, polyrhythmic grooves.

“Without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat,” Fela Kuti 

Courtesy of ‘The Thinker

Run The Jewels Imagine A World Without Money

April 30, 2020

Hip Hop Superduo Run The Jewel hits us with a brand new single ‘Ooh LA LA’. Taken from their latest release RTJ4. Featuring Greg Nice and DJ Premier, who also make a cameo appearance in the video 🔥


If ever a video ever felt more relevant to current times it has to be this one. Shot just a few weeks before the  COVID-19 pandemic hit, the video speaks to capitalism and class division, which is a theme that has always been here but has been more prevalent during this global pandemic.

“In conceptualizing the video with our friends Brian and Vanessa Beletic we imagined the world on the day that the age-old struggle of class was finally over. A day that humanity, empathy, and community were victorious over the forces that would separate us based on arbitrary systems created by man. This video is a fantasy of waking up on a day that there is no monetary system, no dividing line, no false construct to tell our fellow man that they are less or more than anyone else. Not that people are without but that the whole meaning of money has vanished. That we have somehow solved our self-created caste system and can now start fresh with love, hope and celebration. It’s a dream of humanity’s V-DAY… and the party we know would pop off.” – Run The Jewels

The video features a money-filled street party with people burning money and doing what looks like a flash mob (remember those) dance routine, literally making you want to participate through the screen. It’s an excellent video, go check it out👇


#musicreview #runthejewels #hiphop

Lili Caseley Say C’est La Vie In New Video

April 29, 2020

Rising UK talent Lili Caseley drops a brand new single C’est La Vie. A song of moving on from a relationship gone wrong. Lili graces the well-produced pop/r&b track with her soulful vocal ability. Telling her ex ‘Boy, Bye’ using cleverly written lyrics, with catch chorus.

lili caseley

Camden native Lili is a former Artist Development student at ACC London and was spotted by Cetera management after performing in a competition, hosted by Hoax. The prize was to support Ed Sheeran at one of the last shows as part of his Divide world tour last year.

She’s won support from respected music titles like Clash, Notion, Music Week and Official Charts UK. Whilst also receiving coveted airplay as DJ Target’s UK unsigned single on 1xtra, playlisted on BBC Radio 1xtra and BBC Introducing’s featured artist.


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