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Should B2B companies advertise on TV?

New platforms like MNTN are making it easier than ever to advertise on streaming TV networks like Hulu. With competitive pricing and supposed precise targeting, is now the time for B2B companies to join in?

Advertising on streaming platforms, known as OTT advertising, could be the perfect way for B2B companies to increase brand awareness. Or it could result in a lot of wasted views on the wrong audience. 

On this episode of “Death to the Corporate Video,” Guy and Hope discuss what B2B companies should consider when weighing the pros and cons of OTT advertising.

Listen to the episode or read the transcript below to learn more.


Guy Bauer: Why do we still believe, we have this avatar of B2B buyers in our head as these boring people who literally cease to exist after 5:00 PM?

Like how narcissistic is that of us to believe that they don’t exist after 5:00 PM. They do. And what are you doing, Hope? What am I doing? We're turning on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or HBOMax. That's where we are. 

Hope Morley: Hello, and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice for how to make B2B video ads your prospects actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley.

Guy Bauer: I'm Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley: A couple weeks ago, I was watching Hulu with my husband and we saw an ad for Asana. If, you know, that is a project management software solution. And after the ad played, my husband — actually, this is a real story. This sounds like a made up story for the podcast. It was a real story — He turned to me, he was like, why would a software like that do TV advertising? Because he was like, most of the people watching aren't buying project management software. And I thought that was an interesting question. I brought it to Guy, we started talking about B2B on TV and we thought, Hey, this might be a good topic for the podcast. We can have this conversation and talk about, should B2B companies be considering what's called O T T over the top or streaming TV advertising.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. And before we get started, I really just have to say, we need to talk after this show about authenticity, because if there was ever a fake sounding story, it's that. I mean, Hope you don't need to make up stuff. Like, I mean, that just sounds unbelievable. It's not authentic, Hope. Okay?

Hope Morley: Yeah, cuz nobody watches TV with their spouse. It's just fake.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. And there's another one called connected TV CTV, which I thought this is, I guess dense, I thought that people were obsessed with advertising on Canadian TV. Cuz I think that's what they call it up. There is CTV. That's like their BBC. I'm pretty sure. So I was like, wait, why is everyone obsessed with Canada right now?

Hope Morley: They're like such a hot market, right.

Guy Bauer: So there's OTT, CTV.

Hope Morley: So CTV is actually, my understanding is CTV is actually the device. So your connected TV is your TV that connects to the internet or it's your Roku, or like whatever you're using to stream your TV. OTT is the content itself. So like OTT is like what you're watching on Hulu or Peacock or whatever. The ad based content.

Guy Bauer: Oh. Got it. 

Hope Morley: That is the difference. But when you're talking about the advertising that you're buying at the end of the day, it's the same. If for, in some cases it matters, cuz I believe Roku has their own platform that you can purchase ads directly through Roku. So that would be like through the CTV device of a Roku where people are watching other platforms' content.

Guy Bauer: And it should be assumed. This is all on I P V six. With a device that, uh, is interpretating data at, uh, solid 50 megabyte per second. Mm-hmm 

Hope Morley: Okay. Now I'm out. For the purposes of this conversation, what we're talking about is when you're watching not live TV, when you're watching Hulu, you're watching Peacock, you're watching any of those ad based streaming TV. You see ads. Those are the ads and the ad blocks that you can purchase that we are talking about in this episode.

Guy Bauer: Gotcha. Okay. and I think your husband is misguided and he needs to listen to this show because why wouldn't connected TV or streaming television be a great place to advertise on B2B? So that's the genesis of this podcast is should brands advertise, should B2B brands advertise on OTT TV? And I will just spoil this whole episode and just say yes, of course.

Hope Morley: And I will say my opinion is maybe.

Guy Bauer: Oh, okay. Point, counterpoint!

Hope Morley: So now that's the conclusion now it's like, let's do a flashback and talk about how we came to these decisions.

Guy Bauer: Okay. Cool.

Hope Morley: So, and I do wanna say too, we use Asana at Umault, and I am someone who makes software purchasing decisions for our organization. So getting an Asana ad served to me while I'm watching Only Murders in the Building is actually very excellent targeting.

Guy Bauer: And then we do have a broad disclaimer on this episode, in that this is not one of those like five tips that we've definitely thought about, and that are a for sure thing. We're not giving five tips. This is more of like, this is so new that we're still opining. This is an opining episode, so it's like five opines. Or five opinions, right?

Hope Morley: Yeah, these are our thoughts as B2B marketing and B2B advertising professionals. Of what we would recommend to a client, or this would be the conversation that we'd be having with a client who might bring it up like, Hey, what about OTT?

Guy Bauer: Okay. So what do you, I mean, who wants to go first? You go first.

Hope Morley: Yeah. So I'll talk a little bit about what I see as some potential advantages that you have as a B2B company looking at OTT. So first of all, I found a stat for 2021 that 85% of consumers in the US have a subscription to some sort of video on demand service. So that doesn't necessarily mean an ad based one that does include like Netflix, which currently does not have an ad tier, but are talking about introducing one. But when you're talking about 85% of consumers in the United States, you are talking about the vast, vast majority of people have access to one of these platforms and is a potential target for you. So that is huge. And I would also think that 85%, I didn't find it broken down by age, but I would think, you know, millennials, that's my generation.

We are moving into positions at these companies that we are making purchasing decisions. We are the people that you are often targeting now, and millennials are cord cutters. Like we've been talking about this for a decade. If you're trying to reach a millennial or like a gen X audience, they probably are watching content through CTV.

Guy Bauer: For sure they are. I mean, and the whole thing in B2B is that it's a, it's a committee and gen Z is on streaming. So I mean, and gen Z probably has never even heard of cable, to gen Z cable is, they've heard of it, but it's a relic it's like rotary phones. So to them, it's, it's native.

They've never known anything other than that.

Hope Morley: Yeah, so some advantages of advertising on OTT. So a lot of the platforms, like MNTN or like Trade Desk that sell ad spots on OTT, they at least claim very precise targeting, and that you can get really great retargeting. So similar to when you're running social media ads. You can retarget someone who has already watched your ad.

They say that they can do the same with OTT of getting that retargeting. I know MNTN actually allows you to upload your CRM, to get like super precise targeting that they claim that they can find those people that you exactly want to reach. So maybe that is how Asana found me on my Hulu, who knows.

Guy Bauer: Could be, could be. Yeah. It makes sense. And if you think about it, so let's back up though. So you're unpacking. Wait, we're not gonna do the whole unpacking bit.

Hope Morley: That was, that was last week's episode.

Guy Bauer: Okay. So, I wanna zoom out, actually. I agree with you. I think in theory, it's all great. And, and if you think about it, like, especially in the mindset where people are on their couch or in bed watching streaming TV. It's almost like, it's a new territory that we can explore, even though it's such an old territory, like, you know, the TV, but I wanna zoom out real quick and kind of answer Scott's question. Or ]I want to answer your husband's question.

Hope Morley: You can say his name. I think that's, you know, public information.

Guy Bauer: Okay. I want to quickly give the logic of why I think the answer is yes. It's that B2B people exist outside of their office. Microsoft teams, Zoom calls and LinkedIn, they exist in 3D space. And so many times we think psychologically that these people are just, you know, talking to their kids in B2B language with, you know, talking about disparate silos and all this stuff.

And, and that's not the case. They actually don't wear their suits to bed. They exist among us. They are among us, these B2B buyers, they're Hope! You know, when I listen to Bloomberg, I don't know if you've told you that, Hope. I do listen to Bloomberg every morning.

They are the most boring people. You know, like they get excited when the VIX goes above 29, like, and it's an exciting day. I mean, these are like, you know, and, and so they start talking about this HBO show called Industry and I was like, oh, this is great. A nice, boring finance show that I could force my wife to watch.

And we put on Industry and it's like, holy moly. All it is is like, it's like a little bit of finance and then just everybody doing coke and having crazy sex and like, and then like they go back to work hungover, and then they just go party more. And like, it's like Euphoria, someone explained it, like it's like Euphoria meets Succession.

So, but these are Bloomberg, boring Bloomberg people talking about Industry, meaning they don't shield their eyes when the naughty parts come on, they actually watch them. And so like, why do we still believe we have this avatar of B2B buyers in our head as these boring people who literally cease to exist after 5:00 PM?

Like how narcissistic is that of us to believe that they don’t exist after 5:00 PM. They do. And what do most people do from five to seven? It's like dinner, kids, put 'em to bed and at like 7, 7:30, 8, what are, what are you doing, Hope? What am I doing? We're turning on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or HBOMax. That's where we are.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm

Guy Bauer: So that's my treatise or that's my overall thing of like, yes, of course, of course it's a viable channel anyway. So, and then Hope you have more, you have smarter viewpoints than me.

Hope Morley: Yeah. And I do think, you know, talking about it as that's where everybody goes. I think too thinking about B2B buyers with a lot of us working remote now, giving up the office, it's going to be a lot harder to rely on tactics that some companies have used like direct mail or things. Like, you know, it's gonna be harder to reach people.

So I, I wonder if some people have, you know, you don't wanna be intruding on people. And I wonder if in some B2B, there are some buyers who think, well, B2B, you don't wanna be coming into their home in the same way, but now that we've all brought our office into our homes anyway, you know, I think that line has gotten blurred over the past two years.

So I don't want B2B marketers to think that it's, you're somehow intruding on people's private space if you're advertising your B2B product on Hulu, because we've already broken down that barrier of home and office. So as long as you're not, you know, insulting people in their home, I think it's fair to advertise to.

Guy Bauer: Oh, totally. I, I see. No, I mean, what's funny is I think the targeting is actually a little less creepy when it's like when I'm watching TV, in fact, it's like just more relevant. It's actually serving me rather than creeping me out. I think what this means is that if I'm a B2B brand, I'm asking myself, well, what do we put on this thing? We don't have any inventory of ads that are :15, 30s :60s, because most B2B brands don't do that. They make boring corporate videos, explainers that go on for two and a half minutes. 

So this is going to cause. And this is great for, we're gonna reap the benefits, Hope, cause a huge revolution of B2B brands having to think in terms of :15s, terms of ad units, thinking in terms of ads, not videos.

And so, and to me, creativity now is the X factor and that's it. That'll be like the absolute differentiator now is. Can your ads actually entertain and, you know, while someone's in a mode to be entertained, that's the thing. That's why I think this is actually huge when I'm watching Industry, I'm in the mode to be entertained. I'm not in a mode to do work or anything else. I mean, I'm on Reddit as well. And I'm checking email constantly, and I'm refreshing our Google analytics, but when I'm not doing that, I'm in the mood to. I mean we were watching, we were watching, oh my gosh. Have you seen The Rehearsal yet?

Hope Morley: No, but I'm not a huge, what's his name? Nathan Fielder fan.

Guy Bauer: Oh, he's so good. Oh my gosh. It is so.

Hope Morley: But you're not the first person who recommended this to me.

Guy Bauer: It is just incredible. I, I can't describe it other than it's insane and incredible. But what's funny is like me and my wife love this show. We are big Nathan Fielder fans. And I look at like yesterday, I'm on my phone, my wife's on my phone.

I'm like, is anyone actually watching this yet? We like, we're hearing it. And we love it. Like, I don't know, most people are doing many things, but anyway, I digress. When you're in front of the couch in front of the TV, you're in a mode to be entertained. I think it's, it's an arena that's ripe. The other thing, sorry, is that there's not a lot of inventory. Meaning a spot break on streaming TV is usually around 60 seconds, maybe 90, but usually they're short. And usually it's you get two ads, two 30s or like three twenties, you know? 

So you don't have to compete with a lot. A lot of different, you know, articles and stuff. So it's actually, to me, it's like a good play.

Hope Morley: I think that that's an advantage of OTT advertising is, you know, you can't skip them. You can't scroll past them. They're being just served to you. So obviously you can get up and walk away and like go to the bathroom . But if you have a good spot that is engaging people who are looking to be entertained in that moment or you know, they're still, even if they pick up their phone and they open up Reddit or Twitter, while the commercial break starts, they're still hearing it. You know, it's still going to be getting into your brain and they're, you're still getting that brand hit. Even if you only have 50% of their attention.

Guy Bauer: And it's not on mute. So one of the things that drives me crazy is social is mostly silent. And I know there's like captions and all that stuff, but there's something lost on social when everything starts silently,

Hope Morley: Social except for TikTok. Yeah.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, except for TikTok. But yeah, this one, it comes on full bleed. It's full screen,  on volume. It's, you know, it's pretty cool.

Hope Morley: And I think one thing you were talking about how there's less inventory. So you're, you're only on there with three other brands during that commercial break. I think as a B2B brand, if you do choose to purchase OTT advertising, it can make you look bigger than you are. Because it is less expensive than traditional, linear TV, like live TV.

So it can make people might think if you're, for example, you’re third in your category, and you want people to think of you as the sector leader, if you're buying OTT ads, your audience might think like, wow, they must be, they must be doing pretty well if they're doing TV advertising, it can make people think that you are the leader. Even if you're not in terms of sales numbers.

Guy Bauer: There's just a different, you know, it has been 10, 15 years of transition from us watching NBC, you know, us watching The Office.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm

Guy Bauer: New, you know, new episodes of The Office. That was like, what 2007? I mean, you 

sat your butt down and watched them live. So it's been, it's been 17, 18 years since that, but still in that brackish 18 years I still think what has remained is that there is a different vibe when you are seated in front of your big screen TV, on your couch, in your comfy pants, there's a different vibe than in front of your laptop. When an ad comes on social meaning, if we go back to my big thing, the medium is the message, the medium is an ad appearing on your big flat screen TV just feels different. It feels more expensive. It feels almost like the difference between going to a theater and watching it at home. Like the theater is an experience. The same thing is your couch, your big TV. That's a different experience. And you're showing up as a brand and more, I can't even describe more panache or what's the word? It just feels more prime timey. 

You know, that your brand is prime time. Yeah, I agree.

Hope Morley: Yeah, it's a way to stand out from the noise too, of social, especially if, you know, when I sit down on, on the couch to watch I'll stick with Only Murders in the Building, cuz that's my Hulu show right now and there's ad breaks. So when I sit down to watch that I'm dedicated for 30 minutes that I'm gonna sit and watch that show.

It's a little bit different than if I am just trying to take a quick mental break from work and I open up LinkedIn, and I'm only planning on being on it for three or four minutes just to like scroll for a minute and then go back to work. And then I'm really more inclined to scroll past ads. Cause I'm like, I got like two minutes here.

I'm just scrolling. I don't wanna see your ad, but once I'm sitting on the couch and I'm really dedicated myself to no, no, no, this is all I'm doing right now. And I've allotted this block of time that I'm going to be entertained and consuming content. It's just a different mindset.

Guy Bauer: Honestly, this episode is really good because I'm like, oh, we should totally be on CTV. So like maybe this is a seamless segue into the cons, but it is expensive, relatively speaking. I mean, if you're comparing it to traditional. So there's two ways you could either look at connected TV as actually pretty cheap if you're used to broadcast prices. But if you're used to social prices, I believe MNTN starts at around 10 or $15,000 a month minimum. 

So it is a heavy sum for a lot of brands.

Hope Morley: Depending on what you’re used to.

Guy Bauer: Depending on what you're doing. Yeah, exactly.

Hope Morley: And that's why OTT started out. It was all the consumer brands that always did broadcast are the first ones who really dove into that. You know, you still get a lot of car ads and think people who are traditional broadcast advertisers are still a large portion of these streaming advertisers because they have the ad budget for it. That's where they're going, where the people are.

Guy Bauer: Yep.

Hope Morley: So yes, it is expensive.

Guy Bauer: Maybe.

Hope Morley: Yeah, depending. My other big con, and this is where I come in on my maybe if B2B brand should be on OTT, is all these ad buying platforms promise really precise targeting. I have not seen any independent verification of how good any of this targeting is.

So I'm a little bit skeptical about how accurate it is. I think we all know that there's a lot of loss in general digital advertising, which also claim really high, precise targeting. We all know there's a lot of ad waste there. I think OTT we're still gonna see a lot of wasted ad buy. I keep telling Guy this, that we in my household, so I've been married for seven years. Been with my husband since, been together since 2010. One of the most common types of ads we get on our streaming TV is dating apps.

Guy Bauer: Hm.

Hope Morley: So for some reason, either it's cuz of the content that we're watching, we have been somehow misidentified as a household that is interested in dating apps.

All those apps that are currently paying to be showing up on my TV are completely wasting their money.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. And, you also said you get like stuff in Spanish.

Hope Morley: And I did recently get a Spanish ad. Yeah. That just happened once that it was like an AT&T ad, but it was in Spanish and we are not a Spanish speaking house.

Guy Bauer: When we were at the, B2B Elevation Ignite, what is the name of this guy? They've got too many. 

Hope Morley: The Ignite conference had the Elevation Awards, which we happened to be a winner.

Guy Bauer: Okay, but Ignite 2022. I was talking to a guy who works in one of the tech companies that create audiences for platforms to purchase. And, he was saying what they, they it's like, it's kind of like this alchemy of, IP tracking, tying them to physical mailing addresses and then trying to outsmart VPNs and dynamic IP addresses.

So apparently like your IP address changes every whatever it could be every few days or months or whatever, but it changes within a range. So basically there's all these AI computers at work, trying to figure out who you are and like tie you to this range of IP addresses and all this stuff. 

And again, I'm, this is all anecdotal or whatever unproven, but to me, it's, you know, if you need a whole company to do this, it's probably sketchy at best, you know, how accurate everything is. I think maybe Your IP address changed dynamically. And that IP address used to be tagged as a Spanish speaking household, and then it went to yours and they think that that's you, or it could be like people moved.

So, yeah, I agree. I think the tracking and targeting, but I mean, still to this day, like, you know, targeting can only, it's a 50-50 chance if it can identify you as a man or woman. And that's just now today, like on the web, tracking and all that stuff is like, is it dubious? Is that the word?

Hope Morley: Yeah. And even with OTT specifically, too. So like, even if with your IP address and all this tracking, they get the right household. So say I've been identified and tagged as a potential buyer of Asana software. So great. They found me. They don't know that I'm the one watching at that moment. They could be just reaching my spouse, who doesn't make purchasing decisions. They could be reaching my kids who are watching TV. So even if you have the right household with your targeting, you know, you still might not be having the actual decision maker that you're trying to reach is the person watching when your ad airs. So there's risk.

Guy Bauer: Well, and I think, you know, to all the CTV platforms credit, what I think they're why they're saying targeting because it's still better targeting versus broadcast. I mean, in 

broadcast, there is no targeting and, at least with CTV, there is some targeting, so it's still more efficient than broadcast, but I think that's why the budgets go up because you do need to spend quite a bit to account for all that waste.

Cuz you will spend money. Whereas if you advertise on LinkedIn, I mean, it is virtually wasteless. If you can really dial in your audience, there's very little waste. There still is, but it's, there's very little, so yeah. It's not gonna be as targetable as LinkedIn with their first party data, you know, all that stuff.

Hope Morley: Well, and cuz on LinkedIn, people are self-identifying as what they are. So it's easy to say, I'm looking for people with this job title and people have said, this is my job title. There's none of that guesswork. When you're talking about other digital advertising or with OTT no one is self identifying as someone who's in market for your solution.

Guy Bauer: Correct. Correct. Now once Apple gets into it now that's and, and, and what's funny is I think I keep seeing these charts where Apple turned off cookies, but then their ad platform has skyrocketed because they're basically they're

Hope Morley: Still selling all your data.

Guy Bauer: They're exploiting it. So now, if Apple gets into the commercials game, now 


Hope Morley: Does Apple plus have commercials?

Guy Bauer: Apple plus does not, but I'm sure I can see them eventually opening up an ad supported tier, just like Netflix. I believe Hulu still shows you ads, even if you pay right.

Hope Morley: Yeah,

Guy Bauer: Oh my gosh.

Hope Morley: Same as Netflix. It's like an ad supported tier. You can pay more to get rid of them.

Guy Bauer: You could pay more to get rid of them. Right. And I think I heard Disney is also gonna do an ad tier or push ads on subscribers. So, I mean, it's where it's going. It's so funny. It's like

Hope Morley: We've reinvented cable, really, but like

Guy Bauer: Reinvention of cable. That's all. It was, it was like a lift and shift migration to the cloud, basically digital transformation, yada, yada.

And that's it. And we're still, and I guarantee you, if you add up all your subscriptions, you are paying now more than ever than you ever paid for cable guaranteed.

Hope Morley: No, I don't think we are, but yeah.

Guy Bauer: Oh, what are you talking about? Oh, I bet if you add it up.

Hope Morley: Cable is like 80 bucks a month. I don't pay 80 bucks a month on streaming TV.

Guy Bauer: But you have to pay for internet.

Hope Morley: But you used to pay 150 bucks for internet and cable.

So let's bring it back to OTT advertising. So let's sum it up here. We've kind of, this episode has been a little bit more over all over the place than some of our recent episodes, but I think you know, we're still figuring this out. We bet our listeners are still figuring this out too, but in sum, so some advantages of B2B companies advertising on OTT, most of your target audience, most of the people you're trying to reach have some sort of streaming TV that they're watching in their home.

The ad platforms advertise that they can get really precise targeting for you, including retargeting abilities, just like on other forms of digital advertising. You can make yourself look a lot bigger than you are. People can't skip your ad. And you know, brand awareness is good. You know, getting more, getting your name out there, like Guy said, B2B purchasing decisions are made by a committee.

So getting more people to know your name, you know, why did Salesforce decide to have a Super Bowl ad? Because they want people to know that they are your go-to brand, right? 

Hope Morley: So there are advantages. Some disadvantages. It is expensive. Not as expensive as national broadcast TV, not as expensive as your Super Bowl spot, but more expensive than a lot of digital advertising is.

And the targeting is questionable. So we can't verify how actually good it is at this point. It's expensive and there's probably a good amount of waste in that targeting despite what the buying platforms say.

Guy Bauer: Yep. Yeah, I think that was a good summation. I have nothing further to add. I rest  my case.

Hope Morley: I mean, I would say, like I said, you said it's a definite yes for you. I say it's a maybe. My main maybe is, you know, if you're trying to reach a really niche audience, if you're not Asana or Salesforce that really can company like a really wide audience of B2B, you know, then maybe you wait until the targeting gets better.

But if you do have a product that you have a lot of companies, if you're trying to get more into small and medium sized businesses, I say, try it out. See what happens.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, I think that's actually good. Actually, like a year ago we were watching Tubi and Tubi is completely ad supported. It's free. And we kept getting this ad for this like super niche. It was like an API connector. It was like way downstream of like computer programming, like something that is incredibly niche for even computer programmers.

So like way too niche for streaming. And it was like, they weren't even speaking English, I mean, they were speaking English, but it was like all tech jargon. 

Hope Morley: As an average person, you did not understand it. Yeah.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. So I think you're right. Like, that is way too far down the funnel, like yeah. Like that's not gonna work on connected TV.

I think the way to think about it is broadcast. It is broadcast plus or broadcast max.

Hope Morley: You gotta put a plus on it when you're talking about streaming.

Guy Bauer: Yeah I think probably the general rules still apply to broadcast, but you do get that extra layer of targeting that can help, but I think it's, it's still not gonna be like totally niche targeting.

So yeah, but I think it's a great thing, you know, and look, what have we learned about marketing is that there's no one channel. There's no one ad. You should do many things. There's no one thing that will make you a billion dollars. There just isn't. It's a, it's like a quilt, you know, you need a little bit of, you need a little pattern and so yeah, it's one more.

Hope Morley: Yeah, that's worth trying out.

Guy Bauer: That's worth trying out. That's right. Well, thank you. Hope.

Hope Morley: Thank you Guy. And thank you listeners for listening to today's episode. If you have any thoughts about whether B2B companies should be advertising on OTT, hit us up. You can find us on our website at umault.com. That's U M a U l t.com. Or you can find us on all the social media channels at Umault or on, you know, Wednesday nights you can find me on the couch watching Hulu.

Guy Bauer: And we're clear.

Hope Morley: All right.

Guy Bauer: Cool.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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