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Honors Night 2009 Honorees

2009 Honors Night Honorees
From l to r: Paula Alex, Advertising Educational Foundation; Joseph Tripodi, The Coca-Cola Company; Shelly Lazarus, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide; Frank Bennack, Hearst Corporation; Michael Roth, Interpublic Group.


Rosemarie Ryan  
Rosemarie Ryan, President, JWT  

Welcome everybody; thank you very much for joining us tonight here at the University Club. I would like to begin by offering a very special welcome and thank you to our honorees: Coca-Cola, the Interpublic Group, the Hearst Corporation, and last but not least, Shelly Lazarus. I’m her biggest fan – welcome, Shelly.

Tonight’s honorees are and have always been huge supporters of the AEF. In fact, they were among some of the first corporations to lend their support when the AEF was founded 26 years ago. If it wasn’t for them, it’s probable that we actually wouldn’t be here in this room today, so thank you all for supporting us back then. It’s been a delight for the past 26! You’ve made a huge difference then and you make a huge difference now.

Today, as in the past, I think the AEF’s mission remains constant: a desire to heighten understanding of advertising’s role in society, culture, and the economy – questions I think we ask ourselves fairly frequently – and to do that at the top universities and colleges. And they seek to do that not through lecturing, or lobbying, but through discourse and dialogue. Their agenda is not to influence but to join the conversation and to give voice to and promote understanding of our industry in an objective and transparent way and they do that incredibly well. I think the important thing that we all need to think about today is that the conversation about the role and the value of advertising is not limited to the hallowed halls of universities or, indeed, the board rooms across America where I know its debated day in and day out. Like all conversations in the digital world, it’s also playing out in real time online: on Facebook, on blogs, on Twitter. The lines between what is advertising and programming and content and news and promotion are all becoming blurred and are being debated daily. So in these times it’s ever more critical that we join and participate in that conversation. We can’t afford to put our heads down and ignore it. It’s important that we’re a part of it and the AEF is an invaluable resource to that end.

So in closing I’d like to say that your support is particularly appreciated this year. I know how hard it is for us and for everybody else here to decide where they can lend support in what is a very tough economic time. Just so you know, I think we have raised almost as much money this year as we raised last year, which is remarkable, and Paula’s going to talk much more about that. So thank you, that money will go a very long way.

And without further ado I’m delighted to introduce a very familiar face to all in the room who has now taken on an amazing new role – which I’m sure he’s going to talk about – the wonderful John Partilla.


John Partilla  
John Partilla, Corporate EVP & President, Global Media Sales, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.  

It is such a privilege to be the honorary chair of this fine organization, and I have the pleasure of sharing a few of the highlights of the past year at the AEF. Of course, the person who really makes this organization run is Chief Executive Officer Paula Alex, who will come up in a moment, and she’ll touch on a number of key initiatives. But I just wanted to highlight two key accomplishments that I think really affect all of us.

First of all, we have had a rebranding of the AEF, including a new logo design and identity, thanks to Lander Associates and my good friend, Hayes Roth, who spearheaded that project. So a big thank you to Landor!

The second key accomplishment I want to touch on is that in a year of difficult times we were able to as an organization still have 87 university visits as part of our Inside Advertising Speakers Program. This program directly connects faculty and upcoming undergraduate talent to industry professionals, and inspires and informs them about the value of the three tiers of our business (the advertisers, the agencies, and the media owners). To conduct so many visits during a year such as this makes a huge difference for our business, as schools are the lifeline to new talent. Congratulations, Paula and the AEF, on keeping that going.

I also just wanted to speak briefly on that point because one of the reasons I’m personally so excited to be involved with this organization is because of its mission, the heart of which is informing and inspiring potential new talent. You know, we’ve talked about this before, and as we look around this room I haven’t looked at a single one of your business plans but I can guarantee that every one of them says that we’re here to retain and attract top talent to grow our businesses. And that’s easy to write but much harder to do in reality.

I think the second part of the reason that we’re so excited to be in this organization actually has nothing to do with business growth. As I walked around the room for the cocktail hour and spent time with each of you, so many of whom I’ve grown up with or spent time getting to know over the years, I was inspired by the many wonderful relationships – both personal and professional – that we share. And I think that’s because we all think this is an amazing business to be in. We grow brands; we grow companies; we grow the economy; we believe in what we do; we believe that we make a difference; we solve problems creatively with our minds and our hearts. We actually make things go.  I think that as we work together over the years we support each other, we cheer each other on, we care about each other.

I had the good fortune—I’m sure many of you are doing this right now—of attending a graduation this morning. I was struck by the 8th grade classes moving on to high school. Who wasn’t touched by the enthusiasm and exuberance of these kids, looking at their lives ahead of them? And I thought this morning, and I think tonight as I look around the room, how lucky it would be for any of those children to be in our business. So to those children, to the future and current talent in this business: Let’s keep this organization going and growing.

I’d like now to introduce Paula Alex, the woman who keeps it going, the CEO of the AEF. Thank you, Paula.


Paula Alex  
Paula Alex, CEO, Advertising Educational Foundation  

The AEF was established in 1983. The first Honors Night dinner took place in 2001.     

We are grateful for your support of the AEF and your presence tonight. Honors Night proceeds are used for continued development of our Website, aef.com. 

I’d like to share some current news about two AEF activities online not included in your Dinner Program:  A&SR (our academic journal) and the ADText Online Advertising Curriculum. These publications are among 430+ journals distributed by The Johns Hopkins University Press Project MUSE to over 2,000 subscribers from 61 countries, including Estonia, Kenya, Pakistan, Ethiopia, China and Peru. Subscribers are predominantly libraries and universities.  AEF’s 2 offerings rank in the top 11% in usage for all MUSE journals.

The AEF has just launched a brand new online project: Inside Advertising Forum.     Dedicated to the great opinion leaders of our industry today, it will speak directly to a new generation of young people interested in advertising and its integral role in business and society, in the voice of its top practitioners, to those who most want to know.


David Ushery  
Master of Ceremonies David Ushery, Co-Anchor, WNBC News 4 New York  

Tonight’s Master of Ceremonies is known to many of you as the co-anchor of “News 4 NY” Monday Thru Friday.   

Of course I am referring to David Ushery.  David joined WNBC in 2003, following 11 Years at WABC-TV, in various anchoring and reporting positions: e.g.,  Eyewitness News;  Pope John Paul II’s visits to Toronto and Africa;  and the Space Shuttle disaster.    For his series of reports on children and violence, David received the National Association of Black Journalists Award.

David Ushery is an accomplished co-anchor and journalist. We are delighted he has taken time from his demanding schedule to join us and guide us through this evening’s program.   

Welcome David! 


David Ushery  
David Ushery  

Paula, thank you so much; very kind words. I have no idea who wrote them, and none of it’s true, but it’ll work for tonight.

Thank you for being here. Before I do anything else I have to thank my house band: the trumpet players John Henry Lambert and Max Morton. I know that you’re accustomed to having that at this dinner but you don’t know that that happens at every event that I MC – trumpet play – and it’s cool because sometimes there are little kids at the events and they go “Hey look, Mommy, there’s Barack Obama!” and I don’t do anything to disappoint or correct them.

It’s really humbling for me to be here. I like to do events, as I was explaining to some of the folks earlier, that I haven’t done before, and I haven’t been invited to AEF before. About five people cancelled before me, but that’s not important. The fact is I’m here tonight. I’ve done other events this week. I was with the American Heart Association last night, very gratifying. Before that, it was a smaller event, a survivors’ support group for bank execs who took the federal bailout money and wish they hadn’t. It’s a small group, but it’s growing. Before that it was strange; I was at a luncheon with senate democrats in Albany and the oddest thing: all of a sudden you hear this word and you hear these expletives and people run around the room. If you’ve been following that, you know they’re no longer in charge in Albany.

But truthfully, I’ve learned a lot about AEF in preparing for tonight’s event. I was sent an article about a Duke professor who says that everyone comes into his class about advertising thinking that they’re experts about advertising simply because they watch commercials. And isn’t that the way. But really, the bridge that AEF puts between the craft itself and the scholarly academic world is so important and one that I really, truly consider myself a student of. It was not that long ago (and yet it seems long ago) that I was starting to read in trade publications about the word “engagement,” and that networks and television stations were wanting to know exactly how the viewer was connecting. Not simple enough that you have it on at this certain hour where we traditionally expect a number of eyeballs. We want to know that they’re reacting to our ads. I must say it’s particularly humbling to be here at a time when advertising in local television is so robust and vigorous. I wanted to come in and say, “Where have you guys been? We need you.” But I know you’ve been there. We just have to get the economy back on track.

Tonight is AEF’s opportunity to recognize a representative company from its constituency of advertiser, agency, and media companies with a history of outstanding support of AEF and of the advertising industry. In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual for exceptional achievements inside and outside the industry. And let’s congratulate ourselves again, by the way – I hope you all heard that you’ve just about raised as much money as you did last year which is remarkable, and deserves another round of applause.


Eugene Kummel, Chairman Emeritus, McCann Erickson  

This is the second time I have had the privilege of introducing Shelly Lazarus. The first time was at the Yale School of Management, when she was the guest speaker for the graduate students and faculty and was accompanied by her husband Dr. George Lazarus and her daughter, who was an undergraduate student at Yale at that time.

Starting in Ogilvy’s direct response unit, Shelly Lazarus has risen succeeding steps to leading their world-wide company by reason of her marketing and advertising abilities. Her record of extra-curricular activities is truly remarkable – I will mention only a few.

Shelly serves on the Board of Directors of General Electric, Merck, New York Presbyterian Hospital, American Museum of Natural History, and the World Wildlife Fund. She has been listed as one of America’s most powerful women in business for the past ten years (from its inception) by Fortune magazine. Shelly was also the first woman to receive Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Leader in Business Award. She has taken her turn at the chairmanship of the 4A’s—the American Association of Advertising Agencies—and has served for several years on the board of this institution, the AEF. And finally, Shelly has been the chairman of the Board of Trustees of her Alma Mater Smith College for five years.

Thus, I am pleased on behalf of Paula Alex and her Board of Directors of the Advertising Educational Foundation to present Shelly Lazarus with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.



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Watch Shelly Lazarus video





Gene Kummel and Shelly Lazarus  
Gene Kummel and Shelly Lazarus, Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide  

What do you say after that?!?

There is only one thing to say – Thank you, to my friends and family, not just for the kind words, but for the life they have given me.  (Would my wonderful family please stand up so I can just acknowledge you?)  And to say to this assembly that I am truly honored tonight by all of you and by the Advertising Educational Foundation.

That I am given an award for my career seems to me a bit of a paradox.

How can you earn an award for doing what you love?  How do you get an award for being given the privilege of working with and certainly learning from some of our industry’s giants?  An award for being given the opportunity to work in an industry of near constant change and inspiration? 

An award for being asked to have ideas, to think big, and broadly, and to speak boldly?  For having the privilege of working with some of the great clients (and I have worked with some of the great clients, some of whom are even in this room tonight).  An award for being invited in and asked to sit at the table, and think with them and dream with them?

Why should I be thanked when I should be thanking you?

I came into this business at a time when it was not much different in look and feel from the “Mad Men” series on television.  (They certainly got the portrayal of women right!)  

I was accepted into the ranks of the seriously smart and brightest of our business.  First at Ogilvy – David Ogilvy was my mentor, my supporter, my cheerleader and my friend, and then by the industry at large. 

And here’s my AEF story: I was asked to join the board when I was a kid.  And here’s the confession – I didn’t join because I believed in advertising and the need to educate the world about it.  I joined so I could be in the company of the greats who founded this organization and were on its board.  People like Gene Kummel and Jock Elliott and Al Seaman and Bart Cummings.  I was star struck – and I still am – by the amazing people who are on the AEF board.

As I stand here I cannot help but be reminded of the words of Peter Pan’s creator, J.M. Barrie, who said:  “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”

The truth is, I never wanted to be anywhere else or doing anything else, and if that’s what makes a lifetime of achievement, then I accept this honor with love and with gratitude.


Marc Belton and Joseph Tripodi  
Marc Belton, EVP, General Mills and Joseph Tripodi, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, The Coca-Cola Company  

Well thank you all so much, and thank you for an opportunity to get a window into the advertising business that I’ve never had a chance to see. It has been absolutely fantastic for me to be able to see some of the passion, some of the leadership and some of the inspiration that has driven this business and has frankly made companies like ours – General Mills – as successful as we are. So again, I want to thank you so much for this opportunity.

I’m also very thankful to be able to share a little bit about an organization that I have respected and admired for many years, the Coca-Cola Corporation. Tonight they will be honored as our Advertiser of the Year and will receive the Advertising Award.

Coca-Cola had a storied history with the AEF. Back in 1986, less than three years after the AEF was established, Coca-Cola pledged its support to the AEF and its overall mission with a significant contribution to help the fledgling organization. Coke’s President at the time, Ike Herbert, joined the Board of AEF to ensure that the company’s investment was going to be used toward building AEF programs about social and economic challenges as they relate to advertising, as well as to enhance advertising and its dialogue on college and university campuses. In 1990, Coca-Cola led both General Foods as well as Johnson & Johnson to become participants in AEF and to produce a documentary which became AEF’s first award-winning documentary, called Behind the Scenes: The Advertising Process at Work. Focusing on the creative process, the video included clients and agency staff “in actual meetings, no holds barred.” It showed students and professors that talent combined with hard work and ethics, as well as responsibility, can make the creative process work. Today, it continues to be used as a supplemental classroom teaching tool.

Accepting tonight’s award on behalf of Coca-Cola is Joe Tripodi, who is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at Coca-Cola. Joe’s had a 25-year industry record of diverse global assignments, including Paris, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, and he’s done these for companies like Seagram’s, MasterCard, and AllState.

On behalf of the AEF it’s a great pleasure for me to present this award today to Coca-Cola, our Advertiser of the Year, and to Joe Tripodi.

Thank you very much.


Joe Tripodi  
Joe Tripodi  

First of all, thank you Mr. Chairman, dignitaries, honorees, and of course, thank the Academy. And, at my table, there is a movement that I should receive a lifetime achievement award because I’ve lasted this long at Coca-Cola!

It’s great attendance here tonight, appreciate the attendance. I know what you all came for – that little bottle opener. Since budgets are tight and we’re managing through a tougher economic model, this is only the sterling silver edition. But we promise that next time we’ll give you the gold one!

Anyway, I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the 900,000 people around the world who make up the Coca-Cola system. It is a great honor for us to be recognized. And I’m going to tell you a few things about Coke that you may not know. I was with Don Keough earlier today and I said, “Don, why did you decide, along with Ike Herbert, to get Coca-Cola involved in this organization?” And Don said,”Because it was the right thing to do.” He recognized that our industry needed pipeline of talented people who were attracted to it; that we needed to get the message out to people that there was a very noble cause in being part of the advertising and marketing community. And Don said that the intersection of brands and people is such an important thing that we needed to make sure that we had that high level of talent in the pipeline continuously feeding the process.

Now, Coca-Cola has had a broad spectrum of educational focus for many, many years. Last night, actually, Coca-Cola was honored at the World Fund Gala as a company that had spent time and done considerable amount of work toward building schools in Mexico and helping facilitate educational opportunities in Latin America. Coca-Cola is also the largest employer on the African continent and has spent countless millions of dollars on educating the citizens of that continent on HIV/AIDS and surrounding issues. Further, Coca-Cola has for over 25 years had a program called “Coca-Cola Scholars.” Every year, 252 students right out of high school get college scholarships anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 per year for four years. There has been over $38 million given. Over 4,000 students have been Coca-Cola Scholars, and I’m pleased to say we have at our table here tonight Christina Marshall, who was a 2001 Coca-Cola Scholar, went to NYU, and is now working at DiNoto in the advertising industry. We thank and welcome you, Christina.

Coke is an active champion and citizen of the need for education around the world, particularly as it relates to our industry. So thank you again, and on behalf of all the people in the Coca-Cola system, I greatly appreciate this honor this evening.

Thank you.



Tim Armstrong  
Tim Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer, AOL  

First of all I just want to say thank you to Shelly. I think that she is somebody who is an inspiration for all of us, and congratulations to her.

The person about whom I’ll speak, Frank Bennack, is someone who’s won Shelly’s award before. When you come to these events, you’re used to going to a lot of events, but you never know the people, especially for an organization as historic as the AEF, who actually helped get them started. And I think that Frank is probably the person most associated with the initial funding of the AEF. As CEO of Hearst back in 1985, he wrote one of the initial checks to get AEF going – I wonder if they had a dinner like this the first year they got started; maybe Frank can come up and tell us.

Hearst has been a major contributor for the entire time the AEF has been in business, and Frank is on his second stint. Frank is one of the legendary CEOs in the media business – he didn’t just do it once but he’s now back doing it again. The Hearst Corporation has continued their efforts to support the AEF over the last 20 years. They are a big sponsor of Honors Night, which I know many of you here tonight have probably been to before.

I think as an industry we’re lucky to have luminaries – there are many in the room here tonight – who take steps to actually get things started. Tonight we recognize Frank and the Hearst Corporation for their ongoing contributions to the AEF, and especially in an economy like we have today, I think it’s an extra step, and takes extra effort, for people like Frank to continue supporting the efforts of AEF. So we just want to say a sincere “Thank you” and “Congratulations” on winning this year’s Media Award, and I’d like to invite Frank up to say a few words.


Paula Alex and Frank Bennack  
Paula Alex and Frank Bennack  

Thank you; I’ll be brief. Between being last on tonight’s program and accepting a media award in this economy, I feel like I just won TV’s Survivor.

I do appreciate this honor, and fortunately I am not the last man standing in media. Many companies, like Hearst, are using the current market challenges to innovate with new products and imagine new frontiers. Opportunities – bring ‘em on! Of course, the last Texan who said that is now out of a job… 

A recession isn’t quite the way anyone wants to get the chance to improve, but it’s pushing us forward. Everything about the industry, from realigning the relationships between advertisers, agencies and media to AEF’s own educational support and outreach, is being redefined as both classic and emerging media dare us to change. 

You know there’s been a seismic shift in how the world communicates when an unknown Scottish woman sings on British TV and the clip is downloaded on YouTube 60 million times. That’s 41.5 million more views than President Obama’s Inaugural speech. So either media is seriously reinventing itself, or there are a great many more Republicans left than previously thought!

Advertising will be the lynchpin of media reinvention. It keeps us culturally relevant. Advertising – print, broadcast, and digital – begins and sustains consumer relationships with a brand. And those relationships are personal. 

You’ll note that I’ve used the word “relationships” a couple of times already. Well, that’s what we do. Whether we develop or market or feature the brand, we’re in the business of building relationships around it, preferably long-term.  So, I am very pleased to represent media’s end of the trust involved in this work. And I salute my fellow honorees tonight for their parts, also. I like to think that advertisers, agencies and media together are a brain trust for the public trust. 

The mission here tonight is to affirm our continuing effort to educate our constituencies, and to keep the ongoing dialogue between the industry and the public truthful and productive. AEF takes that responsibility very seriously. Supporting their work is something positive we can all do, in any market. Hearst is extremely proud to be part of this group and its mission. I know you are, too.  Thank you, AEF – and thank you all – for so generously supporting this work!


Frank Bennack and Michael Roth  
Frank Bennack, Vice Chairman and CEO, Hearst Corporation and Michael I. Roth, Chairman and CEO, Interpublic Group  

When Paula learned that my fee is the same for two appearances as for one she pressed me into service. And thank you David, you’re doing a great job up here.

This year's Agency Award is going to a group that has been loyal and effective in its support of AEF for a very long time. The Interpublic Group has shown outstanding leadership in carrying out AEF's mission for more than two decades. The AEF, as you know, was founded in 1983. Interpublic was the first agency group to embrace the cause, and has set a splendid example for others ever since.

From the start, they have donated their time, their money, and their expertise. For 26 years, they have helped make this an even stronger organization than its founders may have imagined.

Because they believed passionately and wholeheartedly that education about the advertising industry must be an ongoing and vital part of our world, and because they understood it as a means to ensure its future, they began by setting the fundraising effort on fire just one year after AEF's inception. It was their generous pledge of seed money in 1984 that really launched the AEF. Interpublic's influence and impact has been felt many times since that initial show of support.

The entire group of Interpublic agencies became actively engaged in the cause. Gene Kummel of McCann, who you've already met, led their fundraising efforts with outstanding results for many years. And Michael Roth, Interpublic Group Chairman and CEO, continues to carry the AEF flag, which includes supporting Honors Night and other AEF educational events and activities.

Interpublic's most recent contribution to AEF has been to its newest project proposal. That is the establishment - and this is a terrific idea - of an online archives and exhibit of 110 years of race and ethnicity in America, as seen through advertising. Michael, himself, is committed to the project. In fact, if there is one word to describe him since he became Interpublic's chairman in 2004 and its CEO a year later, it is "committed." He has consistently shown himself to be first in line when volunteers are needed, and he is always willing to pitch in. He also has the gift of getting others behind him – and behind AEF.

It's high time that both the Interpublic Group and Michael Roth be recognized for their leadership in AEF. And, it is now my honor and privilege to present AEF's 2009 Agency Award to the Interpublic Group, and Michael Roth.

Please join me in congratulating Michael!


Michael Roth  
Michael Roth  

Thank you Frank for those kind remarks. And you’re all still here, which is even better.

First of all I want to thank the AEF for this recognition. It’s a great organization and the fact that we were able to raise the same amount of money this year as we did last year is a tribute to this organization and I want that to be a lesson for all of my colleagues from Interpublic here. I’d like to see the same results this year as there was last year!

Actually, I’m here to represent Interpublic and all the great talented people that are part of our organization and it’s really a tribute to Gene and all the great people of Interpublic who have contributed to this organization.

You might ask “how did I get to where I am right now?” I think the mission of AEF is critical in terms of the educational aspects of this industry and what it’s like to join this industry. I have to tell you a little anecdote. When I first came to the industry, it was the furthest thing from my mind that I wanted to be in advertising. And my background is financial, legal, accounting, and all that good stuff. And I was asked to sit on the Board of Directors of Interpublic, and I thought it would be pretty neat because my understanding of this industry was pretty much driven by the notion that it was an industry that was led by a bunch of cigar-smoking, white chauvinist guys who sit around and drink and have a wonderful time. So I said “Why wouldn’t I want to be part of an industry that is like that?” And it’s interesting for me to report now that I’ve been a part of this industry that it’s actually true. The notion that Don Draper suggests of this industry obviously is something that is out there, and what we have to do as an industry is change that perception.

The other anecdote that I’d like to share is that when I took on my current role, I asked for a list of the important people in this industry that I should meet. John Dooner fortunately gave me a list of people and on the top of that list was Shelly Lazarus. And I said, “Okay, I think I’ll do that.” So Shelly and I had breakfast virtually the day it was announced that I was taking on this job and the first thing she said to me is, “Why do you want to do this? Have you any idea what this industry is like?” And I said, “Well, being on the board I have some idea of it.” What I really knew was what Interpublic was like and I knew the people and more importantly, I knew the clients, some of whom are represented here. And I said, “Any industry that has the ability to recruit these types of talented people who are dedicated to what they do in an industry that has the clients that we have and who can do all the wonderful things that we can do is something that I want to be part of.” So I embarked on this journey of participating in the turnaround of Interpublic, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this industry and particularly about IPG.

I’ve said this to many of you who are from IPG in the room before: The highs and lows in this industry are incredible. I’ve had a number of careers and in this one the highs are just amazing and the lows are just amazing. But it’s just a great business; it’s a great people business, and what the AEF has to continue to do is get that message out there because what this industry needs is talented people. What we do in our business is so important, and in this environment it’s even more important to get the message out there – like AEF does during Advertising Week and through its other programs.

The aspect of diversity and inclusion in our industry is something that we still have to work on. One of the first things I noticed in this industry is the lack of diversity and inclusion, and it’s such an important part of what’s going on in society today. The role that AEF plays in that is critical, and I want to encourage everyone here – all aspects of the AEF, whether it be the media companies, the advertisers, or the agencies –both to continue to do great work in this environment and to get the message out in terms of what a great industry this is and all the good things we do for society and the resources that we have.

It really is an honor to represent IPG and it’s certainly an honor to have received this award. So I thank you all.

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