The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

Content Marketing 2.0: How To Cut Through The Clutter When Everyone's A Media Producer

Everyone’s a media producer nowadays, with companies pushing content out of all types and on all fronts.

How can you set yourself apart from the crowd?

Joe Pulizzi, author of the new book, Epic Content Marketing, shares some useful info for you to come out on top. 

Joe Pulizzi 

Photo credit: toprankonlinemarketing

When Social-Media Marketing Goes Bad: Newcastle vs. Budweiser - #MarketingMonday

By Fausto Mendez

    Newcastle steps into the social-media ring with Budweiser, but the outcome of the fight may surprise you. In the social space, it turns out the fans are in control, not the brands. 

    Towards the end of July, Newcastle had a seemingly brilliant idea: poke fun at Budweiser’s latest marketing ploy, a bow-tie-shaped can. This fight is about a month old, but that’s just enough time for the dust to settle in order to clearly examine the results.

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    Budweiser’s new can takes the shape of the bow tie in the Budweiser logo, a silly change that clearly has no effect on the beer inside the can.

    In an attempt to differentiate itself from beer brands that focus countless dollars on pointless changes to the can instead of the actual beer, Newcastle posted the below image on its social media channels with the the following message.

"Introducing the new, #Newcastle bow-tie can. It’s our regular can with the sides pushed in. Innovation! #NoBollocks".

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    The intent is to get “real” beer fans to pay attention to Newcastle - the kind of fans that don’t care for color-changing paint, bigger mouth holes, and bow-tie cans. However, the social-media battle sparked up some backlash from those “real” beer fans, the same ones Newcastle was trying to attract. Soon after Newcastle’s joke, a Facebook user posted the following comment to the photo. 

"Is that to hide that fact Newcastle is not using Toasted barley to get its golden or deep brown color; however, in this case, Newcastle is colored artificially with caramel color?

This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.”

    It turns out that calling attention to Budweiser’s “fakeness” caused fans to shine a super-bright spotlight on Newcastle’s “fakeness”. The comment was just one of the first in a massive social-media backlash over a simple joke. Newcastle later responded with an official statement that suggests that the company will look into alternative ingredients that achieve the caramel color, but it’s so far unknown if Newcastle is just calming the crowd with empty promises.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh, non-stop marketing advice, and downloadable fonts for your marketing materials. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

(Source: beerpulse.com)

#MarketingMonday - Pretty Soon, You’ll Be Embedding Facebook Posts into Your Blog or Web Page

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    Facebook is about to unleash a new feature on the masses, which enables a user to embed a facebook post into any blog post or web page. The feature is long overdue, especially for bloggers and social-media fans.

   About 72% of Facebook users block the public from their Facebook posts and profiles, says Consumer Reports, so the company has been searching for and developing ways to increase the exposure of its public posts, profiles and pages. Embeddable posts is certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing that, and since the Web is already accustomed to embedding all types of media, including Tweets and YouTube videos, it only seems natural. 

    Right now, the disadvantage with Facebook posts is that users have to visit Facebook.com in order to comment, like and share posts, which sometimes makes blogs, Twitter and YouTube more attractive platforms for announcements and big, open discussions. But embeddable posts solve that problem by allowing the discussions to occur outside of Facebook, wherever the audience is currently located.

    In 2013, Facebook hasn’t underperformed, but it is losing (or sharing more and more of) its younger audience to other niche social platforms, such as Tumblr. Post embedding can be an effective way to keep Facebook in the loop on these other platforms, but it may not be enough to re-capture the youngest Web users. Some of the Web’s youngest users see Facebook the same way that the rest of us see AOL, a walled-off garden that dumbs down the Web into a boring, predictable and forgettable experience.

    Facebook is slowly rolling out post embedding, so it’s not yet available to everyone. For now, only a few mainstream media companies, including CNN, can use the feature. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Why (Not How) Social-Media Marketing Works: It’s Just Like Dating

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By Fausto Mendez

    Most people understand how social-media marketing works, but a lot of business owners and marketers can’t wrap their heads around why it works. In my most recent guest post at Smart Blogs, I break down “why” - not “how” - social-media marketing is such an effective marketing channel. 

    Actually, the answer is more closely related to the mechanics of dating than any subcategory of marketing. It turns out good daters may have it all figured out. I suggest you dive into my post at Smart Blogs for the details. It’s a short but insightful read, and if you’re involved in marketing in any form, you may find it more useful than you may have assumed.

    Once you understand why social-media marketing is so powerful, you may find a boost in your ability to execute more effective marketing campaigns in any marketing channel.

    I’m currently authoring a new guest blog for a different site, but the details are still up in the air. Needless to say, I’m excited. Of course, you’ll hear about it when it finally hits the air.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Activision’s Brilliant Marketing Strategy on YouTube: Target the Content Creators and Curators

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By Fausto Mendez

    Social-media marketing is often perceived as a mysterious and powerful beast, but video game maker Activision doesn’t see it that way. Activision has tamed YouTube for its national and international marketing campaigns, and this is how the company is doing it.

    Though it may seem like YouTube is all about funny animal videos and poorly produced cover songs, the video-centric social network has been a staple in video game culture for about as long as the site’s been around. Passionate gamers know the site for its healthy library of game trailers, homemade walkthroughs (guides), news, commentary, parodies and more. Activision understands this, and the company develops content exclusively for YouTube in order to rouse up passion for new and upcoming games.

    You may be surprised to learn that YouTube viewers watched over double the hours of gaming videos than other types of videos in 2012. In other words, YouTube is one of the industry’s cultural hubs, where gamers of all types and ages unite to enjoy gaming beyond games. As usual, the old saying applies, “go to where your audience is.”

    Ad Age does a great job of breaking down Activision’s entire strategy for YouTube, so I suggest you check out the full article. However, one tactic really stands out. 

Harnessing the Content Creators and Curators

    Prior to major gaming expos, trade shows and premieres, Activision invites some of YouTube’s most popular content creators and curators to real-world presentations, which include the distribution of exclusive information and video assets, such as clips and trailers. Promotional giveaways also play an important role at these events. The YouTube stars are sent home with brag-worthy bags of promotional swag, such as custom shirts, cups, accessories and keychains, which the YouTube stars sometimes give out to their own audiences. As a result, the promotional items are a low-cost and effective way to catalyze buzz about the brand between fans, not just the YouTube stars.

    The exclusive events make it easy for Activision to spread information, hype, trailers and clips on YouTube because the company doesn’t need to directly develop and hold an audience. The content creators and curators have already taken care of that. All Activision has to do is get the right content to the right people, and those “right” people will repackage the content into a form that best suits their audiences. From there, the information will naturally spread throughout Activision’s fan base. Easy, right?

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

How Wendy’s Uses Social Media to Influence (Good) Business Decisions

By Fausto Mendez

    It’s probably safe to say that we haven’t seen everything that #social media can do for businesses. Most brands use it to post company updates and engage customers with sharable content, but Wendy’s is thinking way outside the box for social. And the rest of us should be taking notes.

    Beyond marketing, Wendy’s employs social media to influence important decisions, and it’s becoming a core component of the company’s decision-making process. That’s because effective social-media management involves a ton of listening, so Wendy’s leadership listens to the customer base via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels to find out what motivates them. Then, they act upon the information they gather, according to Brandon Rhoten, director of Digital at the company.

    At his recent BlogWell presentation in New York, Rhoten described Wendy’s fresh, effective approach to social, and we beak down three of his more eye-opening examples below. 

+ Earlier this year, the “pink slime” issue hit the news with full force. Fast food chains, supermarkets and restaurants that sell the cheap, disgusting slime quickly came under public scrutiny. As the beef industry clamored to keep everyone quiet, Wendy’s was more interested in what the company’s fan base had to say about it, and the fans had a lot of negative things to say. As a result, Wendy’s determined that it had to effectively spread the word that it doesn’t serve pink slime, and the company did this successfully through its various channels, including social media.

+ You can say the 1” x 1” real estate on a smartphone’s home screen is more valuable than 100 highway billboards. That’s because every time a fan opens his phone, you have an opportunity to make a connection with him, so when Wendy’s found out that its social audience was complaining about the restaurant’s lack of healthy meals, the company was quick to respond with an app that features each menu item’s nutritional details. Though it’s technically not a nutritional meal, Wendy’s understood that the app would alleviate many concerns of the healthy conscious. 

+ Wendy’s recently set a goal to raise sales of value items, and it would do this with the help of social media. Unfortunately, value items don’t make for great social content, and the company’s social channels seemed to be hush on the topic. But the company wouldn’t give up so easily. As a result, Rhoten’s team came up with a new plan: ask customers to rename the value items through its social channels. When the company finally decided on the new names, there was a significant increase in orders of items from the value menu. 

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    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

(Source: smartblogs.com)

The 80 Rules of Social Media Every Social Specialist Must Know

jeremywaite:

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1. Obey the rules
2. Social media is ALL about your audience, be they consumers, viewers, fans, followers or users. It has nothing to do with you, or what you think.
3. Followers lead from the middle of the pack – usually by example.
4. 1 active user is a BIG deal. They have 140 friends.
And…

How Social-Media Marketing Boosts Sales by 30% in the Video Game Industry

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By Fausto Mendez

    The effectiveness of SMM (social-media marketing) is a widely debated topic, but the video game industry is done with that debate. And its verdict is in. It turns out SMM may be its most powerful marketing channel yet. 

     Twitter broadcasts over 400 million tweets everyday. That’s a lot of talk - most of it gibberish, but the video game industry is learning that guiding those conversations towards upcoming video-game releases has a very significant impact on sales, according Twitter and Deloitte LLP. Twitter UK commissioned Deloitte LLP to measure the impact of those 400 million daily Tweets on the sales of 100 best-selling PS3 and Xbox 360 games, and you can see the results for yourself in the full infographic below (click to enlarge it). 

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The Lesson: Creatively Integrate Multiple Channels in Your Marketing Campaigns

    The point is not to rely solely on Twitter - or even social-media marketing - but to shape your campaign using a variety of tools that guide your audience towards positive online conversations about your products or brand. 

    Now, let’s use this lesson to design an effective marketing campaign for a company like Rockstar, maker of the famed Grand Theft Auto series. As a marketer for a major gaming company, you have to think bigger than an unforgettable TV ad, a beautiful billboard, a hilarious Twitter author, or a well-designed Facebook page. You want to design marketing tactics that start conversations that move to and from various marketing channels. 

The Example: How to Move Customers From Channel to Channel

    For example, you might design a set of TV commercials that confuses and surprises viewers. Throughout the commercial, you’d display a unique hash tag at one of the corners of the screen. The confusing ad would encourage users to search for the video or the hash tag online. The confusing ad also airs between 4PM and 8PM because that’s when the target audience watches TV. By 9PM, the audience is most likely playing video games and/or browsing the Web.

    At this point, those gamers that aren’t gaming are probably searching for the video or hash tag in order to discuss it and share it with their friends. After discussing with their friends, they probably want more information, so they would search for related websites later that night. This campaign would have three important effects.

+ By adding social and online components (that are easily searchable and sharable) to the TV ads, the ads are viewed by many, many more people than if they were developed without those social and online components. 

+ Conversations with friends about upcoming games has a more powerful effect than ads that intrude on the audience’s time and attention. Friends are often entertaining, welcomed participants in such conversations. Ads that try to dictate how you think, on the other hand, run the risk of being an annoyance if they appear in the wrong situations. In other words, your friends’ excitement for the next Madden NFL game is more effective than a tv ad for the same game, but the conversation that exposed you to that excitement may have never occurred if it wasn’t for the TV ad in the first place.

+ The search-engine performance of your website is increasingly becoming dependent on the performance of your social-media profiles and content. As your profiles and content are shared across social-media sites, your website’s SEO grows too, so by catalyzing conversations that involve your social-media profiles, critical keywords and links to your website, you should increase the traffic that your website receives from search engines beyond the traffic that arises from curiosity just after a new ad airs. 

Why does it work?

    In the previous example, the process starts in the living room. That means you have to know when your audience will be there. If you do your homework, your customer will see your ad on TV at the perfect moment. They would then search for your hash tag or video online (which would cause the initial search-engine traffic boost). As the audience start conversations about the video and any related content, they would share this content on social networks, and then you get a second search-engine traffic boost as Google notices that your brand name and content are being shared on social-media sites. As excitement, rumors and information spreads, sales grow. Just rinse, and repeat.

    Whether you’re ordering promotional products for a trade show or finalizing the details for your next TV commercial, a strong and wise marketing campaign can go a long way. Take notes, people!

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Honda Leveraged Pinterest to Reach 5 Million Users With Tiny Budget - #MarketingMonday

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By Fausto Mendez

    Every Monday, we analyze a successful marketing campaign, or we assemble a set of tips on a relevant marketing topic to help you boost your business to the next level. This week, we dissect Honda’s very successful #Pintermission campaign.

    Social-media marketing is a tricky landscape to navigate, but some out-of-the-box creativity can go a long way. Big brands know this well, and Honda knows this better than most. In fact, Honda’s #Pintermission campaign reached about five million users, according to Marketing Mag, including 5,000 repins and 2,000 “likes” so far. Overall, Honda measured 16 million impressions when the campaign (which included traditional advertising) was said and done, and that’s not including Facebook and Twitter conversations. But exactly how did Honda leverage Pinterest to such great effect? 

    The campaign specifically advertised the new CR-V, which encourages the concept of enjoying life beyond the walls of home. The CR-V is also targeted at younger adults that are about to settle down, and these young adults grew up with social media. They are accustomed to making plans online, and a good chunk of this demographic are on Pinterest too. Now, here’s the tricky part. How do you reach all of these people with a minuscule budget?

    The name of the game is creativity. If you have it, you can probably be an amazing social-media marketer, and whoever’s working for Honda apparently has it. 

    Honda reached out to Pinterest users with profiles that have massive follower numbers, and a significant chunk of these followers are individuals from the target demographic. The company offered these users $500 each. All they have to do in return is to make or complete one of their pinned images. Honda calls this concept - taking a day off of Pinterest to give life to a pin - a #Pintermission. 

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    Pinterest is a popular place for sharing how-to articles and images of places or activities that people would love to be a part of, so the rest of the campaign was rather easy. Honda created boards for these users to post their #Pintermission photos, and the company also requested that these users create their own dedicated boards for the campaign (with Honda’s Pinterest profile as a collaborator). In addition, Honda also posted and shared custom images that advertised the concept of a “Pintermission”. With the stage set: online discussions, viral shares and “likes” took off. 

    Most importantly, Honda understands that Pinterest is not the best place for marketing many of its other vehicles. The CR-V has a unique target audience. As a result, Honda found those users online, and then, it developed a plan to engage those users with the CR-V as the centerpiece for discussion. That’s the big lesson here: find the customers, understand them and engage them.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Does it Make (Business) Sense that Facebook’s Launching a Custom Version of Android Deeply Integrated with Facebook?

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By Fausto Mendez

  Facebook announced a custom version of Android for smartphones today (in some ways, it’s more like a big app suite), but by relying on Android, it’s automatically supporting Google. Does this make (business) sense? Furthermore, with the launch of open graph, Facebook is openly challenging Google in its main line of work - search. Now, Facebook is trying to take over smartphones? Is Mark Zuckerberg provoking a sleeping beast?

    Personally, it’s hard for me to see how Facebook will outsmart Google. Google seems to be three steps ahead for everything Facebook does, though it isn’t always obvious. For example, Google was analyzing social signals for SEO long before Facebook launched Open Graph (Facebook’s system for measuring social signals for a new search engine). And by relying on Android for it’s new smartphone OS, Facebook is automatically supporting Google - its main foe.

    Big #changes are happening in #socialmedia. As expected, #Google and #Facebook will fight it out to the death. Who do you think will #win? Why?

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    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com. Thanks to The Verge for the pics.

Why Social-Media Marketing Works: The Psychology of SMM

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By Fausto Mendez

    I’m honored to be a guest contributor at SmartBlogs, one of the most useful digests for marketers, business owners and industry leaders that seek to improve both their own day-to-day performance and the performance of the organizations that they steer.

    This is an excerpt from my latest post on the psychology of social-media marketing at the SmartBrief blogs.

"Today, social-media is one of the most effective marketing channels for any company. Why? Most experts explain away the phenomenon with the how, not the why: "social is an excellent venue for content sharing and a useful tool for subscribing to news of your favorite brands." While that is true, it only scrapes the surface. There must be a better answer, and I’ve found it.

Social media is unlike any other marketing channel because it requires the customer to reach out to the brand before the brand reaches out to the customer with a message that leads to customer action. Normally, it works the other way around, but why is it so effective when the roles are reversed? The explanation boils down to a basic rule about relationships between people.”

    Read the rest of “The Secret Psychology of Effective Social-Media Relationships” at SmartBlogs.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Social Media Has Taken Over SEO and Online Marketing: What You Need to Know

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By Fausto Mendez

The old saying goes, “content is king.” This is still true, but recent developments in search-engine algorithms have forced marketing professionals to rethink their SEO strategies. Older SEO techniques are just about useless and, in some cases, dangerous to a brand’s reach, authority and reputation. Why is this happening? More importantly, what can you do to fix your SEO strategy?

    For better or worse, social media has taken over online marketing and search-engine optimization (SEO). The direct force behind these changes appears to be the search industry, but the real driving force is the online marketing industry. That’s because, in the past five to ten years, online marketers have learned to game search engines too well, so search companies were forced to rethink the way their search engines work in order to serve more relevant search results, not just the results of the companies with the most cash to spend. 

How Did Social Media Take Over SEO?

    The marketing industry’s relentless gaming of the system actually caused a significant drop in search performance, which is really bad for the good ol’ fashioned web surfer. And that’s really bad for the search companies, which are arguably the heart and veins of the Web.

    Marketers would game search engines by manipulating backlink counts. At the time, Google assumed that pages with the most backlinks are the most relevant and carry the most authority. For example, a New York Times article may be reposted, curated and outright copied thousands of times across the Web, which would create tons of backlinks to the original article. Google realized that such articles must be important because it is the target of so many links. But what happens if an online marketer pays a few teenagers to build some artificial backlinks to that article?

    What if it’s not a few links; what if it’s a few thousand links? What if it’s a few million links? In Google’s eyes, the page must be important, but if its backlinks are not genuine, chances are it’s not relevant to the end user. As a result, fake backlinks became a real problem, real fast. 

    Google had to diminish the SEO power of backlinking, but how would it measure authority without giving backlinks so much weight? Google learned that another signal of important content is social engagement, meaning the sharing, “liking”, reposting, commenting, etc. of keywords, content, links and brands. This is why social media has taken over SEO.

How do you adjust your SEO strategy?

    Now, how can your company take advantage of the new search algorithms? First, read Google’s just-released-to-the-public Search Quality Ratings Guidelines, which the company hands out to evaluators that manually rate pages for search relevancy. You’ll learn some critical stuff, but we’ve also made a quick and dirty best-practice list to help you get started fast. Check it out below: 

+ Google and search engines prefer user friendliness over relentless keyword optimization. Over-optimization can actually hurt you, and hiding keywords with invisible text or coding tricks is a red flag to Google. It was a cheap trick that worked back in the day, but those days are over. 

+ Set up sharing buttons on all your posts or product pages. If you run an e-commerce store, set up the sharing buttons on the product pages. You also need obvious links to your blog and other social-media accounts. A user shouldn’t have to think twice after deciding to take a few seconds out of his day to visit your brand’s social-media profiles. 

+ Content is still king (you just have to make sure it’s shared over social media). Before this year, you could submit your latest blog post to your SEO company, and suddenly you’d have hundreds or thousands of backlinks that push your post to the top of search-results lists. It’s not so easy anymore. You need real fans, not dead social-media profiles, to share your content. Work on social-media recruitment, and stop relying on services that fill your social-media profiles with fake fans. 

+ Use a tool or company to find poor quality backlinks, and remove them. If you paid for backlinks, chances are they are now hurting your search engine performance. 

+ If you need real fans and followers, that also means you’ll have to work on improving your content. Ugly, over-optimized content just don’t cut it anymore. It must really appeal to your fan base. Otherwise, it’s dead in the water. Amazing content is king.

+ Don’t forget about your robot.txt file and other website optimization. This makes it easy for search engines to find relevant content on your website, and it also boosts load speed to prevent impatient users from leaving too quickly.

+ Take advantage of Schema.org microdata markup. This is the next level of meta tagging, and all the major search engines use it to read and understand the content on websites. In the eyes of a search engine, it defines content, such as “article” or “product”. Otherwise, content is just code and keywords, which is not good enough if you want to boost your SEO to the max. Schema.org also competes with Facebook’s Open Graph protocol, so Google will use it more as Open Graph becomes more widespread. Actually, Schema.org may prevent the widespread adoption of Open Graph since it’s more open and doesn’t require integration of Facebook’s proprietary API, JavaScript and other Facebook annoyances. Also, it was launched and widely implemented before OG.

    If you plan to integrate your business with OG, the best thing to do is to learn it, understand it and, if you decide it’s worth your time and effort, plan it into a long-term strategy. This is exactly our strategy at AnyPromo.com.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

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