Advertising sales agents
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Overview
Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. They contact potential clients, make sales presentations, and maintain client accounts.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for advertising sales agents are expected to shrink by 4%, and should have about 18,000 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of autmoation for ${title} is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Workforce size
Advertising sales agents, with 149,900 workers, form a larger workforce than 74% of careers.
Education
About 63% of advertising sales agents have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by advertising sales agents
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More advertising sales agents have bachelor's degrees than 77% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for advertising sales agents is higher than 54% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most advertising sales agents.
This job's median $52KAll jobs' median $39K$51K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 50% of advertising sales agents -- that's a larger percentage than 64% of other jobs.
Gender of advertising sales agents
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For advertising sales agents, the median men's salary was 14% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 15% of advertising sales agents are minority, and 8% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of advertising sales agents
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (8%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Advertising Sales Agents per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 44% of advertising sales agents, and 58% have company-sponsored health insurance (13% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for advertising sales agents
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 61% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of advertising sales agents who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (94%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (44%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (42%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do advertising sales agents earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for advertising sales agents, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for advertising sales agents compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for advertising sales agents (BLS Salary Data)
$52K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$52K$0$50K$100K$150K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all advertising sales agents, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for advertising sales agents compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for advertising sales agents (ACS Salary Data)
$53K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$53K$0$50K$100K$150K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where advertising sales agents work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Advertising sales agents (ACS)
Private for-profit (90.0%)
Private not-for-profit (2.2%)
Local government (0.1%)
State government (0.2%)
Federal government (0.1%)
Self-employed incorporated (3.7%)
Self-employed not incorporated (3.7%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of advertising sales agents by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$53K$53K$54K$52K$38K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of advertising sales agents by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$52K$49K$52K$40K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for advertising sales agents

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$56K$62K$53K$57K$63K$49K$29K$64K$60K$0$50K$100K$150KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
010K20K30KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Advertising sales agents and gender

With 50% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 64% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
50%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Advertising sales agents
Men (50%)
Women (50%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for advertising sales agents, with the median salary for men 14% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$50K$58K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Advertising sales agents have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 40% of other jobs.

14%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of advertising sales agents

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority advertising sales agents than for 71% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of advertising sales agents
White (83% )
Black (8% )
Asian (4% )
Other (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
15%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
8%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for advertising sales agents by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$41K$43K$43K$51K$53K$55K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherMultiracialBlackHispanicAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for advertising sales agents by nativity
$50K$53K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by advertising sales agents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), advertising sales agents typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as advertising sales agents as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for advertising sales agents.

Education attained by advertising sales agents
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for advertising sales agents

Although a high school diploma is typically the minimum education requirement for an entry-level advertising sales position, some employers prefer applicants with a college degree. Publishing companies with large circulations and broadcasting stations with a large audience typically prefer workers with a college degree. Courses in marketing, communications, business, and advertising are helpful. For those who have a proven record of successfully selling other products, educational requirements are not likely to be strict.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for advertising sales agents? Below we see the distribution of advertising sales agents salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as advertising sales agents, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$38K$41K$43K$44K$61K$67K$0$50K$100K$150KNone (1%)High School (10%)Some College (19%)Associate's Degree (7%)Bachelor's Degree (54%)Master's Degree (8%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by advertising sales agents

This table shows the college majors held by people working as advertising sales agents. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Advertising sales agents with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
12.3%
$0$200K$56K
11.6%
$0$200K$60K
8.7%
$0$200K$63K
4.4%
$0$200K$57K
3.2%
$0$200K$53K
2.6%
$0$200K$73K
2.0%
$0$200K$72K
2.0%
$0$200K$51K
1.8%
$0$200K$60K
1.5%
$0$200K$54K
1.5%
$0$200K$51K
1.4%
$0$200K$55K
1.2%
$0$200K$67K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as advertising sales agents, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by advertising sales agents given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Managers (specialized areas)Marketing and sales managersElementary and middle school teachersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesCustomer service representativesHuman resources workersSecretaries and administrative assistantsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersLawyers, judges, and magistratesRetail salespersonsMarket research analysts and marketing specialistsFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersService sales representativesChief executives and legislatorsAccountants and auditorsFinancial managersPostsecondary teachersSecondary school teachersEducation administratorsEditorsWriters and authorsNews analysts, reporters and correspondentsPublic Relations SpecialistsProducers and directorsCounselorsSocial workersPsychologistsPhysicians and surgeonsManagement analystsPersonal financial advisorsCommunicationsMarketingGeneral BusinessBusiness Management andAdministrationEnglish Language andLiteratureJournalismAdvertising and PublicRelationsPsychologyEconomicsPolitical Science andGovernmentAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for advertising sales agents

What jobs will most advertising sales agents hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of advertising sales agents reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Advertising sales agentsService sales representativesManagers (specialized areas)Marketing and sales managersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesCustomer service representativesRetail salespersonsDesignersMarket research analysts and marketing specialistsManagement analystsAdvertising and promotions managersFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersSales workersGeneral office clerksFirst-line supervisors of office and administrative support workersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for advertising sales agents

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 8 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as advertising sales agents as well as 1% of respondents after working as advertising sales agents. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for advertising sales agents
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
197,500
$0$200K$61K
Service sales representatives
131,900
$0$200K$57K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Market research analysts and marketing specialists
78,300
$0$200K$63K
Designers
61,700
$0$200K$51K
Marketing and sales managers
57,800
$0$200K$74K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for advertising sales agents: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as advertising sales agents? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of advertising sales agents surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for advertising sales agents
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
5.8%
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.7%
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
5.1%
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
197,500
$0$200K$61K
3.0%
Accountants and auditors
143,000
$0$200K$60K
1.3%
Service sales representatives
131,900
$0$200K$57K
2.9%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
3.5%
Market research analysts and marketing specialists
78,300
$0$200K$63K
2.1%
Designers
61,700
$0$200K$51K
1.3%
Marketing and sales managers
57,800
$0$200K$74K
6.7%
Insurance sales agents
56,200
$0$200K$46K
1.0%
Chief executives and legislators
24,000
$0$200K$96K
1.0%
Advertising sales agents
18,000
$0$200K$53K
28.4%
No occupation
9.7%
Read about advertising sales agents
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Advertising sales agents typically do the following:

  • Locate and contact potential clients to offer their firm’s advertising services
  • Explain to clients how specific types of advertising will help promote their products or services in the most effective way
  • Provide clients with estimates of the costs of advertising products or services
  • Process all correspondence and paperwork related to accounts
  • Prepare and deliver sales presentations to new and existing clients
  • Inform clients of available options for advertising art, formats, or features and provide samples of previous work for other clients
  • Deliver advertising or illustration proofs to clients for approval
  • Prepare promotional plans, sales literature, media kits, and sales contracts
  • Recommend appropriate sizes and formats for advertising

Advertising sales agents work outside the office occasionally, meeting with clients and prospective clients at their places of business. Some may make telephone sales calls as well—calling prospects, attempting to sell the media firm’s advertising space or time, and arranging followup appointments with interested prospects.

A critical part of building relationships with clients is learning about their needs. Before the first meeting with a client, a sales agent gathers background information on the client’s products, current clients, prospective clients, and the geographic area of the target market.

The sales agent then meets with the client to explain how specific types of advertising will help promote the client’s products or services most effectively. If a client wishes to proceed, the advertising sales agent prepares and presents an advertising proposal to the client. The proposal may include an overview of the advertising medium to be used, sample advertisements, and cost estimates for the project.

Because of consolidation among media industries, agents are increasingly selling several types of ads in one package. For example, agents may sell ads that would be found in print editions, as well as online editions, of a particular publication, such as a newspaper.

In addition to maintaining sales and overseeing their accounts, advertising sales agents analyze sales statistics and prepare reports about clients’ accounts. They keep up to date on industry trends by reading about both current and new products, and they monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

In many firms, the advertising sales agent drafts contracts, which specify the cost and the advertising work to be done. Agents also may continue to help the client, answering questions or addressing problems the client may have with the proposal.

In addition, sales agents may be responsible for developing sales tools, promotional plans, and media kits, all of which they use to help make a sale. In other cases, firms may have a marketing team that sales agents work with to develop these sales tools.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of advertising sales agents? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Communication skills
Advertising sales agents must be persuasive during sales calls. In addition, they should listen to the client’s desires and concerns, and recommend an appropriate advertising package.
Initiative
Advertising sales agents must actively seek new clients, keep in touch with current clients, and expand their client base, in order to meet sales quotas.
Organizational skills
Agents work with many clients, each of whom may be at a different stage in the sales process. Agents must be well organized to keep track of their clients and potential clients.
Self-confidence
Advertising sales agents should be confident when calling potential clients (making cold calls). Because potential clients are often unwilling to commit on a first call, agents frequently must continue making sales calls, even if rejected at first.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for advertising sales agents
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for advertising sales agents was higher than 54% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $52KAll jobs' median $39K$53K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for advertising sales agents are anticipated to shrink by 4%. over the next decade; 86% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for advertising sales agents is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030050,000100,000150,000200,000250,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most advertising sales agents? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as advertising sales agents. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Advertising Sales Agents per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where advertising sales agents earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for advertising sales agents compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for advertising sales agents.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Advertising Sales Agents to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which advertising sales agents earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Advertising sales agents (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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