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  1. #31
    Dependent danieq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    My personal experience says that the reason Americans aren't buying a lot of fragrance is that in every crowd you will be in, there will be at least 4 people who will complain of allergy/headache induced by scent. Therefore, in a society that avoids offense in every possible sense as something nearing 'hate crime', people stop wearing it.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I think there are a number of factors at work in all this.

    First, the U.S. culture shift. I'd guess the majority of men I know to wear fragrance either bought it to go out on a date, was given the scent by a girlfriend or possibly a relative for Christmas, or are metrosexual (or at least comfortable enough to walk into the "Beauty" department of a major department store, and even ask for help.)

    There is a real apprehension among a lot of younger guys that feel their masculinity challenged when visiting the fragrance counter and asking to sample a scent. "Guys just don't do that," especially if they are shopping in a group say female sales associates I've asked in the past, unless they are angling for a date with the SA. Girls will without a second thought.

    Now at the risk of stereotyping, and I don't mean to do that, I have noticed this apprehension does not exist with Latin American guys, who I've watched scour the fragrance sections at department stores and discounters. They are often informed about different basic scent groups, although not necessarily certain of what individual fragrances fit into which group. So I've heard conversations about choosing scents based on phrases like "that's a clean one," or "you'll get noticed wearing that," or "this would be good to wear at church/party/event." Plus they know that Beverly Hills Polo Club scents at TJMaxx are "trash."

    Older men will often shop confidently, although many that don't know any better end up spraying a litany of testers on themselves resulting in a fragrance cacophony. One SA who worked for a regional department store told me stories about one strange man who insisted on spraying testers into his mouth. He was a legend and many fragrance counters experienced his "testing" until he suddenly disappeared.

    Notice how marketers have adapted to the culture shift. "Axe will get you laid" is the basic premise of this scent in North America. Adidas makes you feel sporty and active.

    European houses will put airbrushed hairless male models wearing next to nothing lying all over the place to sell to men. Americans will put the youth-targeted scents with an average teen or 20-something geek next to a babe and suggest with one spray, you can do anything you want with her. It's far more direct: A will get B if they use C. I'm sure most Europeans don't think if they spray Le Male, they will suddenly transform into a ripped male model in a sailor suit.

    Notice the expanding line from Old Spice with names that conjure up dark folklore, creatures of the night, and fantasy icons. It's not your dad's scent anymore. The marketers are selling the imagery as much, if not more than the scent.

    The celebutard fragrance lines are another example of how marketers are getting around the disinterest most Americans have in fragrances by marketing the celebrity, not the scent. Unless it smells intolerably bad, the celebrity endorsement is what pulls the buyer towards the product. If one associates with or likes that celebrity, the shopper might assume if the celebrity endorsed it and wears it, they can show their support by wearing it too. Marketers know this because the dirty little secret they don't dare to mention is that scents associated with African-American celebrities sell much higher among African-Americans than, say, something from David Beckham or Paris Hilton. Notice the scent itself barely matters. Most general retailers don't have room for testers anyway or they disappear, so a ton of sales are blind buys.

    So this is why there is a big disconnect. The mainstream fragrances these days are celebrity-endorsed or value-priced items with names like Nautica. Slightly more upscale mall stores mass-market scents that are safe sells, hence Acqua di Gio. Niche is not going to turn up a whole lot at Macy's and most guys cringe walking into Sephora or a Guerlain store. Even Yankee Candle is threatening to a lot of guys.

    Once you are willing to commit more than $100 on a bottle of fragrance, you are either filthy rich and don't care about money or you are a real devotee. There are fragrance houses committed to selling to both. Based on the various threads here, the one that comes to mind the most for succeeding in that department is Creed, which has its vocal critics and fans.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by danieq View Post
    My personal experience says that the reason Americans aren't buying a lot of fragrance is that in every crowd you will be in, there will be at least 4 people who will complain of allergy/headache induced by scent. Therefore, in a society that avoids offense in every possible sense as something nearing 'hate crime', people stop wearing it.
    Very valid point. A lady in our choir at church acts like she's having a heart attack if she can smell cologne/perfume coming off anyone. I actually tone down my selection just out of the fear of offending her. But I'm considerate. Good lady, but way too sensitive, and very opinionated to boot.

  4. #34
    Basenotes Institution rynegne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Most American males that I know wear fragrances, however, they do not wear them every day. Instead most American males, around my age (25-30 yrs old) at least, choose to wear fragrances on special occasions and/or a night out (usually in hopes to attract the opposite...or same sex.)

    Very different for women here in the states...I know many many women of all ages wear fragrances on an every day basis. Several women I know have 10+ fragrances...I don't know any males outside of Basenotes that have more than 3.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    There may also be the factor of designer houses losing relevance. Brands can still be important for clothing, but in a different way, a way that classic and couture don't matter. Fierce is a legit challenge to Platinum Egoiste because Chanel is no more important than A&F to the average consumer.

  6. #36

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Thanks for the article. Interesting read.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Just go to any major metropolitan center in the US and look around. You will see a large mix from ethnicities, most of whom are not culturally given to perfume. Or the men anyway; you will find women from all corners of the globe in the fragrance section.

    On the other hand, mass market fragrances themselves seem to have achieved the status of commercial beauty counter junk designed to rip-off the ladies. Quite frankly -- if it can be found at the drugstore, it's not something special. That goes for Channel, Dior, Paco Rabanne, etc.

    I think we just have to accept it. As long as we can order our elite premium scents online we don't have much to complain about.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Many of the % coupons or BOGO coupons at retail stores don't apply to fragrance purchases. Macy's and Bloomingdale's especially. When money's tight people will find the best price for an item which isn't at a retail store.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    Many of the % coupons or BOGO coupons at retail stores don't apply to fragrance purchases. Macy's and Bloomingdale's especially. When money's tight people will find the best price for an item which isn't at a retail store.
    Good point.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    So many great points made here.

    What resonates with me is three things:
    1. The economy -- when it's down, people don't take vacations or make expensive purchases. While a fragrance might be a comfort indulgence for women, it is NOT for most men.
    2. Pop culture -- from the looks of advertising and marketing, most male fragrances are being targeted to the younger generation, who are more apt to buy an inexpensive fragrance with a celebrity name on it, as hednic suggested.
    3. Niche frags -- I'd think niche frags would be growing with the female demographic of the population, not necessarily for men. Women may end up buying them for their men, but rarely the other way around (with the exception of men knowing what their women wear and simply buying it for them).


    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Two things I find especially interesting in this article: a major growth of the niche segment in Europe unlike in the US and that Europeans don't care to smell like a pop star. making this category continue to decline in sales across Europe. Can definitely relate to their feelings in that regard.
    Agreed.

  11. #41
    Dependent bigbz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Wow are things and the ecomony so much better in Europe that the biggest scent segment in grown this year is niche at $250 bucks a bottle?! WTF is up with that?!

    I have a sizable collection, but try to only spend between $20-40 bucks per bottle...so I shop around for deals and almost solely order online. I can count on ONE hand how many times I've spend over $50 on a bottle.(and only once over $70) Not because I can't afford to spend more, but because anymore just seems excessive and wasteful for me.
    Currently wearing: Bleu de Chanel by Chanel

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbz View Post

    I have a sizable collection, but try to only spend between $20-40 bucks per bottle...so I shop around for deals and almost solely order online. I can count on ONE hand how many times I've spend over $50 on a bottle.(and only once over $70) Not because I can't afford to spend more, but because anymore just seems excessive and wasteful for me.
    Indeed. As I have pointed out in previous posts the parallel between the prices on wines somewhat mirrors the prices (and value to price ratio) of fragrances. Based on respected magazines' and newsletters' numerical ratings given to particular selections of vintage wines we can easily see that wines rated in the excellent to exceptional range (usually in the 90s on a 100 point scale) are often relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Wines rated in the 90s for $10 to $25 are definitely available nationally in the USA, as are wines rated similarly though priced as much or more than hundreds of dollars a bottle. At some point it becomes a pissing contest for some to show they can afford to buy the 'superior' (more costly) wines.

    Fragrance is similar. Many fragrances costing less than $30 for a 75 ml bottle and often far, far less that I would rate excellent to exceptional are available both from full retail and grey markets.

    So, are the more expensive highly rated fragrances 'better' than the highly rated 'cheap' frags?

    You be the judge.
    Last edited by kbe; 27th November 2013 at 05:02 AM.
    we have seen the enemy...and he is us.-Pogo

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by maricle View Post
    There may also be the factor of designer houses losing relevance. Brands can still be important for clothing, but in a different way, a way that classic and couture don't matter. Fierce is a legit challenge to Platinum Egoiste because Chanel is no more important than A&F to the average consumer.
    Agree. Brand equity lost due to ubiquity.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Trendy is fickle. A & F is swirling in the bowl as we speak because, perhaps, the hairless body twink ideal of the American male is finally falling out of favor (along with $60 pants that a Guatemalan worker produced for 85 cents). A & F can talk to The Gap about what it is like to run a mall store that wouldn't draw flies now.

    I was in what is left of Sears yesterday and the are moving those Axe gift scents and "niche" Tim McGraw at a healthy clip. Sears is a happening place. Just consider Khloe & Lamar choose a Sears in Downey, Calif. to launch the highly ironic Unbreakable Love. All went well until Spic 'n Span sued for patent infringement and their love crumbled. Now Big Lots can't even move their stuff.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    ^ Gonna have to check out Big Lots! I've been playing hard-to-get on all the Unbreakables!

    I was in Target, sniffing what they had, and was surprised by the latest Tim McGraw Soul 2 Soul Vintage - nice stuff. But the real surprise was how good David Beckham Instinct was. I had never bothered to smell it before. I was appropriately stunned. When you can get fairly decent stuff in celebrity scents, unless you REALLY love fragrances, or a certain one that happens to be pricey, or maybe just the idea of getting "the best" (and have the money for it), then it's simply not going to matter.
    https://cologniac.com - raging for the machines

  16. #46

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Fragrance prices keep climbing. I'm surprised when I see the retail price for designer products at The Bay or Sears.
    My local Winners sell alot of discounted designer fragrances. The turn over is high. Even the lower priced Creeds (GIT, MI, VIW, RW) sell out in a matter of weeks when they are priced right ($125-$150 a bottle).
    Winners is now pushing for higher prices ($200) on the Bond and Creeds and they are not selling very well.
    A few months back Aventus at $200 were gone in days. The latest Aventus are now $250 and have been sitting on the shelf for over a month.

    At the end of the day this is a luxury item.
    We are fortunate to even be here with this interest let alone having the disposable income to consider the start or maintenance of a collection.
    Beauty is in the nose of the beholder.

  17. #47

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Beckham Instinct is a very nice scent. Vetiver heavy and very clean. I gave my bottle to my 17 year old son who wears it fairly often.

    Just don't like Tim McGraw (or his wife). So there's that.

  18. #48

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Wow very interesting, but I can totally see why. Like others have already said, American people seem to want to just smell good instead of smelling like a particular note.

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckW View Post
    Beckham Instinct is a very nice scent. Vetiver heavy and very clean. I gave my bottle to my 17 year old son who wears it fairly often.

    Just don't like Tim McGraw (or his wife). So there's that.
    I found Instinct really well-balanced, plenty interesting, and just plain good. I think I laughed in the store the moment I smelled it, and people probably thought I was nuts!

    I'm not a huge fan of either Tim or Faith - I find his music enjoyable, but not one of my country faves. Those tend to be obscure, shooting stars, or the "offbeat female vocalist of the year". But McGraw and Hill make a nice royalty couple. On the fragrances, I've liked everything he's fronted EXCEPT for McGraw Silver. YIKES! Not for me.
    https://cologniac.com - raging for the machines

  20. #50

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Here we are 4 years later. I wonder where sales and the industry shakes out today.

  21. #51
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I read comments about watering down of fragrances, allergies and air pollution, and expenses - 4 years ago but nothing has really changed. At my job one lady complained of a heavy scent when all I was wearing was deodorant...

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckW View Post
    Here we are 4 years later. I wonder where sales and the industry shakes out today.
    Yes, very curious.

    And this thread answers which Beckham scent I liked. Saw it on sale in Marshalls. Needs a BUY!
    https://cologniac.com - raging for the machines

  23. #53
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckW View Post
    Here we are 4 years later. I wonder where sales and the industry shakes out today.
    I think fragrance businesses are focusing on cultivating markets in South America and it would be wise to do so in African nations as well. Fragrance is something that appeals to all people and can find a market anywhere. I wonder too if the U.S. fragrance sales have rebounded, but I don't think that these companies can afford to wait around or invest foolish amounts of money in ad campaigns when a whole world of new customers can be influenced.
    Currently wearing: Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo

  24. #54

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I couldn't have said this better! I don't know about the music part since my music is big band/popular standards, but I agree 100% concerning the fragrances.


    Quote Originally Posted by mrcologneguy View Post
    Could it be that consumers have figured out that most modern fragrances sold in department stores just aren't any good? Where's the creativity? Where are the bold new statements? It's kind of like what's happened in the music industry. Corporate bean counters and marketng people have taken over, and the resulting output is all bland, safe and boring. No wonder nobody wants it. The companies behind thiese decisions blame "changing conusumer tastes." Of course they do. Marketing and PR people never admit "we screwed up." Consumers are voting with their dollars. They're either moving on to "cheap stuff I can afford" or high-end investment pieces, the last refuge of creativity in fragrance. What's left is a scorched earth middle ground where reasonably high quality designer fragrances used to reside. The latest bland, "fresh" molecules du jour are a fine choice when visiting the hollowed out wasteland of corporate culture, I guess.

  25. #55
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I don't know whether men are losing interest in buying scents, or whether their wives, girlfriends or partners are losing interest in buying scents for their men.

    Also, where the article says men are losing interest in "prestige fragrance category", sounds to me like they are talking about sales in Macys, Nordstroms and the like. And I don't know whether they are talking bottle sales or dollar sales.

    Certainly, I have no interest in buying expensive designer scents in department stores at A$90 (US$60) to A$150 (US$112) when I know there is a good chance that in a couple of years I'll be able to pick up many of them for between A$20 to A$40 (or lower). If many are doing the same as me and only buying heavily discounted, formerly expensive designer scents, then the interest in scents could well be increasing among males (or the women who buy the scents for them).
    Regards,
    Renato

  26. #56
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Prices skyrocket.

    Quality wanes.

    Creativity stagnates.

    Public becomes indifferent.

    In the end, I am not surprised. I have only purchassed 2 bottles in the last two years and both of them were niche bottles. Most of what I have found is uninspiring for some time now, with a few notable exceptions. And I feel like a dinosaur because I don't know any men who wear fragrances, and those that do wear AdG in excess.
    1. Epic Man by Amouage (33 wears)
    2. Leather Oud by Christian Dior (31 wears)
    3. M7 by Yves Saint Laurent (27 wears)
    4. Oud Imperial (black) by Perris Monte Carlo (22 wears)
    5. Russian Tea Ritual by Masque (20 wears)
    6. Fate Man by Amouage (19 wears)

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
    Currently wearing: H.M. by Hanae Mori

  27. #57

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Outside of the Basenotes world, the numero uno reason I see people complaining in the designer category is "this stuff doesn't last anymore", or "it's not as it used to be".

    So all I can conclude from falling sales:

    a. Prices went up
    b. Quality came down (performance), now if that's due to regulations or companies diluted scent, not sure

    But in either case, the companies need to act fast and until an average user sees "value" in their purchase, the sales will keep dwindling!

    Let's say an average bottle of Chanel is £60, for an end user to buy this, he must see "value", which equates to how long this stuff lasts! It's fairly simple IMO.

    I came back to BN last month after a two-year break and the way things are looking, I think come January, I will not have much to buy again!
    Life is too short to sample. Buy Blind | I am generally not interested in batch hunting or weak fragrances.

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    Top 10 in no particular order:

    Amouage - Epic Man
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    Montale - Aoud Lime
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    Mancera - Cedrat Boise

  28. #58
    Basenotes Institution L'Homme Blanc Individuel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I see a few things happening here.

    #1: Fragrances are smelling more blatantly chemical today than they did a decade or two ago. The average consumer doesn't think "Ew, this smells like chemicals!" They just think "This smells bad" or "I don't like cologne." I can't even tell you how many compliments I've gotten from women that are along the lines of "You smell really good, and I usually hate when guys wear cologne." I've heard variations of that phrase ("I usually hate when guys wear cologne") from women when complimenting me so many times. Chemical trash is turning average consumers away from fragrances - especially people who don't wear fragrances, which seems to be more and more people these days.

    #2: There are too many new releases, the vast majority of which are either retreads of the same old same old, or they're garbage rush jobs for the sake of releasing something new (Bvlgari Aqva Atlantiqve!). There are some fantastic new releases too, but for the average consumer, the good is lost in a sea of bad. The average consumer walks up to the fragrance counter and sees a wall full of bottles he or she doesn't recognize. It's a conundrum. On the one hand, new releases drive consumer interest. On the other hand, new releases make the fragrance counter intimidating for the average consumer who doesn't recognize any of what he or she sees (and it's important to understand the difference between people like us, who go out of our way to educate ourselves, and the average consumer. We are not average consumers for perfume).

    #3: Most designer houses are out of touch with changing lifestyles. Fragrances are becoming more chemical - blatantly chemical - while consumer preferences are becoming more natural. Houses are making more Cologne Guy style beasts while consumers look more and more negatively toward that stereotype. It doesn't help that most perfume advertising is awful - often sexist and demeaning or just plain dumb. What the heck was with that Viagra-style ad where Johnny Depp buried a necklace in dirt while explaining that he had no idea where he was going or what he was looking for. What the whut...?

    #4: Oversprayers are causing a backlash against wearing any fragrance at all - and I believe that the blatantly chemical style of scents these days make it easier for people who do wear perfume to become anosmic to it. I think it's easier for your brain to detect foreign (chemical) smells and ignore them, which leads to those folks wearing more because they think it's weak.

    In the end, it is what it is. I don't think any of this will change soon.
    Current Favorites (in no particular order)
    Rose 31
    Endymion
    Royal Oud
    Castile
    APOM
    Curve
    Lumiere Noire
    Aqua Celestia
    Royal Water
    Petit Matin
    Dior Homme
    Reflection Man
    1725 Casanova
    Aqua Universalis
    Prada L'Homme
    Bergamote Soleil
    Tom Ford Extreme
    Hanae Mori HM EDT
    Currently wearing: Royal Water by Creed

  29. #59

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by dampier View Post

    Just 15 percent of American shoppers will purchase a fragrance this holiday, basically unchanged from 2012.

    -- Condensed from NPD, Euromonitor, CNBC, and international media reports....
    I would be intersted in kowing when this was published and who wrote it.
    Currently wearing: Vetiver by Guerlain

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