Are Infographics Right for Qualitative Insights?

BI-BlogInfographics are not doing qualitative research any favors.

Good infographics clarify and condense complex information into more easily understandable and digestible visuals—an absolute plus in a culture that wants to utilize big data, but has a short attention span. It’s little wonder why they have become so popular, and why our clients are now asking for them.

Here’s an example of a good infographic by John Nelson, in which each line represents the path and intensity of a tornado tracked in the last 56 years by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Tornado Tracks Infographic2

The data is accurate and current, the story is compelling, and the design is appealing and clear.

However, infographics are not appropriate for all types of information. Some are being made to represent material which would be better suited for a simple list or chart. Others are being made to represent qualitative insights, like the one below:

The Gender Divide Infographic2

[Source: Motivation Factor and the Boston Research Group, 2012]

It seems a little weak. But why?

Rather than focusing on “black and white” data, qualitative research wades through the complexities, observing and accounting for the “gray” areas that quantitative research cannot address, such as the “whys” of human behavior. That is not to say that the insights are more complex—in fact, despite rigorous research methods based on the theories of social science, good qualitative insights seem simple, like something you have known all along but never realized.

Qualitative insights are supported by evidence that often consists of quotes, photos, videos, and notes. For example, in an ethnographic study with spinal cord injury patients, we found that patients are often in denial about their loss of function. We demonstrated this through quotes from patients saying they have accepted it, juxtaposed with photos showing patients doing things that indicated otherwise, such as refusing to build a ramp to their front door.

Despite the fact that research insights are stronger when shown with their supporting evidence, qualitative data is not easily condensed into a format appropriate for an infographic, and unfortunately is often excluded, as in the infographic above.

When qualitative insights are stripped of their rich supporting evidence, they lose a lot of their nuance and context—often bringing the validity of the insights into question. This is the last thing that qualitative research needs, since there is already a cultural bias that quantitative data is more reliable.

So, should qualitative research jump onto the infographics bandwagon? Probably not.

That’s not to say that qualitative research can’t learn something from infographics. Most people are visual learners, and too often qualitative research reports are text-heavy—our clients get bogged down trying to take it all in. We need to lighten it up, show more and tell less—craft a story from our findings that draws them in and rely on carefully chosen examples to fill in the nuances and context, rather than more text. We also need to pay attention to the aesthetics—good insights are easily lost in ugly or confusing formatting.

If we do these things, then we may just get to a point where clients do not feel the need to ask for infographics, because the research will not only be accurate and current, as it has always been, but it will be compelling, appealing, and clear, as well.

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Are Apple’s new offerings really ready for healthcare?

RPBLOGApple fans were waiting with bated breath for this week. And in usual Apple style, the company did not disappoint the vast numbers of people who eagerly sat through a staged presentation of the new products Apple will be foisting upon us in the next six months.

The new iPhone 6 is a sleeker, stylish phone with a bigger screen, a plethora of new groundbreaking apps such as Apple Pay, and powerful technology that could make the phone even more personal than it is now.

And as if that were not enough, Apple provided a double-whammy by showcasing the new Apple Watch, a truly innovative and stylish mini device that will change the simple task of telling the time.

With these two new devices, Apple also began to stake a claim in the health and wellness arena.

Let’s take the phone. It comes bearing the next generation of Apple’s powerful M chip—the M8. This chip enables Apple to turn the iPhone into a fitness tracker. The next generation motion coprocessor and sensor will know whether you’re riding a bike, running, or speed walking. It will also be able to estimate distance as well as how far you’ve gone. Finally, it will track elevation, thanks to its very own barometer, which will pick out your relative elevation by measuring air pressure.

All of this data will be collected by the new HealthKit app with powerful and intuitive dashboards and displays to help the owners of the device to begin tracking and analyzing all manner of activities.

The Apple Watch enters a largely unregulated personal health tracker business, taking on Fitbit, Jawbone, and other wearable devices. This is a powerful device. It is a pedometer, a heart-rate monitor, and it comes with a robust array of fitness tracking features, including “rings” to track your movement.

The Move ring will track your normal amount of activity, such as walking. The Exercise ring will track all manner of exercise routines, and the Stand ring will measure how long you stand or sit during the day.

But the watch also becomes your personal coach and will give you customized reminders to reach fitness goals. It will have its own Workout app, which will measure calories, time spent working up a sweat, and a variety of other activities. Finally, it will also gently nag or encourage you toward doing things more slowly than you planned. All of this will be shared with the HealthKit app.

Apple plans to offer a sports version of the watch, which comes with an alloy case that’s 60 percent stronger than the regular version.

The Apple Watch looks like it will become a serious contender in the fitness tracking market, but the steep pricing may make other fitness trackers more appealing to people.

From a regulatory perspective, the Apple Watch, while not being deemed a medical device by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will be watched closely. The personal health data collected by individuals for their own use is outside the federal laws controlling the use of patient information.

This collection of data opens up a debate on privacy, and as this is health-related data, there will be extra scrutiny on how this data is collected and used, and more importantly, who has access to it.

However, the Feds are closely watching this fast-growing market. The FDA has already issued a list of mobile applications it is watching closely. The list includes software used by individuals to track and log personal data on exercise, food consumption and sleep patterns, and to make suggestions about health and wellness.

The major issue for privacy advocates will be how this personal data is used by the device makers and developers of apps. How marketing uses this data for profiling and targeting will become a place for regulators to identify safeguards.

Apple is also doing its bit and has made it clear to developers of health apps that it wants to protect privacy. This comes on the heels of the broadly covered celebrity hacking debacle that occurred a few weeks ago, opening up a debate about the collection and backup of data from mobile devices that synchronize with the cloud.

Last week, Apple updated its guidelines for health app developers, stating that apps working with HealthKit may not use the personal data gathered for advertising or data-mining uses other than for helping manage an individual’s health and fitness, or for medical research.

The guidelines also say that app developers cannot share data with third parties without the user’s consent.

It will be interesting to see how the FDA, as well as privacy bodies in the more stringent and regulated environments in Europe, deal with the brave new world that Apple is forging for us.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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Visual Storytelling Part II: Audience Engagement in 4 Steps [Infographic]

Visual-Storytelling-Part-2_ThumbPlease click on the thumbnail to the left to view full infographic.





Check out Visual Storytelling Part I: Plot Your Presentation [Infographic]

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Benefits of Rich Media

The digital pharmaceutical advertising market is proving to be a growing and changing market.  Gradually over the past couple of years, more innovative tactics have become more relevant. Rich media is one tactic that has become more widely accepted not only by pharma companies and advertisers, but also by publishers. Some of you may be asking, what is rich media and why is it becoming more popular?

Rich Media Banner—This is an ad that can contain images and/or video and involves some kind of user interaction which can elicit strong user response. The ads can include multiple levels of content in one placement.




The benefits of using rich media:

Ads Expand—The creative expands when the user interacts with the main image (for example, by clicking or mousing over it). This allows for a larger area to display more robust information, creative artwork and messaging while still being able to include a scrolling ISI and creative assets (videos, clinical data, polls/surveys, etc).

Breaks Through Banner Blindness—Banner blindness is a phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information, which can also be called ad blindness or banner noise. Rich media ads are more attention-grabbing and interactive, which helps separate them from being banner-like. Rich media banners also have proven to outperform standard display banners in key metrics such as time spent and interaction rate.

Information—Rich media banners can contain a significant amount of information, especially compared to standard display ads. This information can consist of videos, charts, clinical data, polls/surveys, or multiple creative messages. This allows advertisers to reach a larger target audience while also providing more options for multi-indication brands in one banner ad.

Metrics—The metrics in rich media banners are also greatly improved. Rich media offers standard metrics and also custom metrics. Standard metrics are more commonly known and consist of metrics like total display time, number of expansions, interactive impressions, and interactive rate. Custom metrics are added to components within a rich media banner, and only three different types are used: exits, counters and timer. These custom metrics can actually track a variety of calls to action within a rich media banner, like links within the banner, time spent on certain screens or data, and of course any click-through calls to action. These robust metrics offer a huge advantage over standard display banners which rely heavily on impressions and clicks.

User Experience—Overall user experience is improved through the use of rich media. The creative messaging can be so robust within a rich media banner that a call to action such as a click-through is not required. This actually allows users to stay on the same page where they saw the rich media banner, as opposed to clicking on a non-rich media banner that takes them to an entirely new page.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
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How Digitally Savvy Are You? See How You Would Answer the Top 10 Digital Ad Trafficking FAQs

5511521Think you are a brainiac when it comes to digital advertising?  Or do you need a quick refresher on how it all works? The true/false quiz below provides an overview of 10 frequently asked questions regarding digital advertising and the trafficking process.

Q: Most consumer and pharmaceutical websites accept the IAB standard units, also known as the Universal Ad Package: 300×250 (Medium Rectangle), 160×600 (Wide Skyscraper), and 728×90 (Leaderboard).


1-       Ad units are labeled based on dimensions (in pixels) of width x height.

2-       While the IAB recently added a fourth size to the Universal Ad Package (180×150 / Rectangle), many pharmaceutical websites have not yet implemented this unit.

Source: http://www.iab.net/guidelines/508676/508767/UAP

Q: Static backups are not required for rich media and Flash banners.

A: FALSE. Static backups are required for all rich media and Flash banner sizes.

1-       If for some reason a user’s Flash player is not functioning properly or if their browser is older and cannot handle more advanced creative assets, the static backup will be displayed in place of the Flash creative. This ensures that whenever an impression is supposed to be served for a campaign, it will be served (even if it is the static backup).

2-       Expandable rich media banners only require static backups for the smaller, unexpanded size.

Source: https://support.google.com/dfa/answer/151646?hl=en

Q: There are no file size restrictions for digital banners.

A: FALSE. Digital banners must be built in 40k or less. 

1-       Static backup banners must be under 40k.

2-       If the Flash banner cannot be built in under 40k, it must either be built as parent/child Flash or as rich media files (depends on ad functionality and client/creative agency preference).

Source: http://www.iab.net/guidelines/508676/508767/displayguidelines

 Q: To “traffic” digital ads, we (the media agency) send the creative directly to the website on which we purchased digital ads.

A: FALSE. We utilize a third-party ad server, DFA, to serve digital banners in most instances.

1-       DFA (aka DART, aka DoubleClick for Advertisers) streamlines the digital trafficking process in a few steps:

  1. We upload media placements and digital banner creative(s) into DFA
  2. We match the placements with the appropriate creative
  3. We export Ad Tags for the placements/creative above, send them to partner websites, and the sites upload them onto the webpages on which we purchased media.
  4. This is where the magic happens. As the page loads when a user visits a site, the site calls on DFA to supply the creative to be displayed in this placement. If it’s our brand’s turn to serve an impression, our creative will be displayed. If we are running multiple creatives, DFA also knows which of our creative’s turn it is based on the rotation we specified. DFA then allows us to track activity on the backend (whether a user clicks on the ad, etc.).

2-       Some websites do not allow or are not capable of accepting third-party trafficking. This is the only instance in which we would not utilize DFA to serve digital banners.

3-       For more information:

  1. http://www.google.com/doubleclick/advertisers/
  2. https://support.google.com/dfa/#topic=2485971

Q: Recommended animation length (for Flash and in-banner videos) is two minutes.

A: FALSE. Best practice and industry standard animation length is 15 seconds.

1-       It is widely believed that after 15 seconds, a user’s attention has already shifted from the banner to other parts of the site, potentially causing a decreased click-through-rate (as a user will miss the primary call-to-action if it occurs after the 15-second mark).

2-       Some websites do not have the capability to serve animation/videos that are longer than :15s; however, some sites will grant case-by-case exceptions if the animation length must be longer due to the amount of important safety information the ad is required to include.

Q: Flash is fully replaceable by HTML5.

A: FALSE. Though HTML5 is an important (and intriguing!) new tool for the creation of rich media and mobile banners, the desktop market is not yet fully prepared to serve HTML5 ads, as many older web browsers do not accept this format. If digital banners are solely built in HTML5, a brand risks frequently running static backups whenever a user’s web browser has not recently been updated.

Q: It is possible to preview a Flash (.swf) creative file without downloading the appropriate software.

A: TRUE. The Flash Validator tool allows you to upload and preview Flash (.swf) files.

1-       This tool not only allows you to preview the creative (how it looks and how the animation works), but it also shows the Flash version the ad was built in, the ad dimensions, the file size, etc.

2-       Tool: https://flashval-temp.appspot.com/validator/

Q: We can track activity on a brand’s website for users who saw our ad, but did not click.

A: TRUE. If the campaign has implemented Ad Tags and Floodlight Tags, we can track viewthrough activity in addition to post-click activity.

1-       Ad Tag—HTML tags generated by DFA and sent to the sites in a campaign. DFA generates unique tags for each placement in a campaign.

2-       Floodlight Tag—HTML code that is placed on a brand’s website to analyze consumer behavior on site after a user has clicked or viewed their ad. When a user views or clicks an ad, and then performs an activity on an advertiser’s webpage that contains Floodlight tags, DFA records and reports on that activity.

Source: https://support.google.com/dfa/topic/20441?hl=en&ref_topic=2485971

Q: Custom e-blasts cannot be tracked through a third-party server.

A: FALSE. We can track clicks on custom e-blasts through DFA if the e-blast creator/distributor includes a click-tracker (1×1) in the e-mail clickthrough URL. Note that some vendors allow and are able to include click-trackers on their custom e-blasts, and some are not.

Q: Black box products cannot run branded Smartphone banners.

A: FALSE. The new IAB Mobile Rising Stars banners allow unbranded banners to expand into branded banners.

Source: http://www.iab.net/risingstarsmobile

Have more questions? Below are a few great places to start, or feel free to reach out to anyone on the Ogilvy CommonHealth Medical Media team!

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

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Visual Storytelling Part I: Plot Your Presentation [Infographic]



Check out Visual Storytelling Part II: Audience Engagement in 4 Steps [Infographic]

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

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Flexing Our Creative Muscles

flexing our muscles thumbnailIt takes lots of hard work and dedication to achieve your goals for a healthier lifestyle. It focuses on nutrition, physical activity and resiliency, and is individualized to your specific needs. Running the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging department is comparable to this in many ways, as I apply the same approach in servicing all Art and Creative Directors. Expectations are high, utilizing our confidence, capabilities and talent to deliver.

It Starts With Healthy Living
Just as in planning my daily and weekly workout routine, the Imaging team prepares by being mentally and physically fresh. It’s important to keep up with the latest technology and current software and hardware upgrades. Every day is a learning experience, especially in the CGI environment.
Wellness in the Imaging Department
The team keeps in top shape by utilizing powerful 3D graphics and software. This has allowed us to take our imaging capabilities to the highest levels conceptually and to produce final printed or digital art.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Creating and conceptualizing art for new brands and new business pitches requires an extreme amount of strength and endurance. We take creative teams’ and individuals’ ideas to a whole new level, allowing them to achieve their visions and ideas, and bringing them alive through the Imaging team’s strength, expertise and resources.
Preparation and Mental Toughness
It takes extreme preparation and execution from our digital artists to create that perfect and unique piece of art. Understanding the “why” is more important than the “how.” In order to create a realistic 3D image, it requires an understanding of why an object looks a certain way in the real world or in specific environments.
Connect With Us
We have evolved traditional retouching into a combination of digital imaging, 3D modeling, animation and motion graphics, to create dynamic, compelling still and motion images. Our strength is in our passion to move ahead and be the best in our industry. Other agencies can’t keep up with the healthy lifestyle of the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging team and that’s why we’re flexing our creative muscle.

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

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Is There Good Karma in Advertising?

buddhaSo much of what we do throughout our careers is interesting…but is it inspiring? Well, we found out recently when the knowledge and information we’ve been exposed to through client work helped me and my wife conceive of and create something entirely new and unexpected. Using the skills we’ve honed while working at ad agencies, my wife and I recently came up with the idea for an iPhone app that aims to improve the world by promoting small changes in daily actions. Basically, we asked the question: what can we do using our advertising knowledge to help make the world a better place? That was the question. “Karmasation” was the answer.

Karmasation, the app we’ve created, is what we somewhat jokingly call an anti-social network. People can post their actions, thoughts, and experiences anonymously and get feedback about whether they deserve good or bad karma. Because users maintain anonymity within Karmasation, they can post honestly. They aren’t speaking to people who know them through various social interactions (as they would on Facebook and Twitter), they’re just speaking to a community of people. Human to human.

The tie-in to social networks, though, comes into play with the idea of gamification, a subject about which we’ve frequently engaged our respective clients. As users participate in Karmasation, they accrue a Karma Profile. Users can simply compete against themselves, or they can share their profiles, posts, and results with Facebook and Twitter to create somewhat of a competition to see who can earn the best karma.

So what type of advertising knowledge were we able to apply while creating the app? And how did that learning continue with Karmasation?
1) The Devil is in the Digital Design. As we’ve worked on different digital platforms for our clients, we’ve learned a bit about clean design and user interaction. Combining that knowledge with being iPhone users ourselves, we had an idea of what would work within the iPhone platform. Are we still learning? Of course! But through our work on our app, we’ve gained a broader understanding of user interaction. We now have a better handle on how users might prefer digital platforms to react and function—not just from an art or copy perspective—but from an overall experience.

2) Bravo for Beta Testing. Again, with the digital platforms we’ve worked on comes testing. The first time my wife worked on a digital presentation, her project manager told her to try and “break it.” And “break it” we did, because before putting an app out there you want to make sure you’ve covered every scenario—not just how you’d use it but also how anyone else might. Because our app has more possible combinations of actions than other projects we’ve worked on, we’ve learned the importance of testing in a systematic way with a greater attention to detail. We also found that as we progressed through the rounds of beta testing, we learned ways to better communicate issues we were finding with our developers. Clear communication between team members who understand different aspects of a project is crucial to getting any problems fixed.

3) The Process of Promotion. The obvious one since we’re in advertising. But this time, we are both the agency and the client. Deciding on your own strategy can sometimes be difficult, and as a result, we now have an added sense of respect for our clients. We continue to work daily to find ways to better promote our app so that more people can know, use and enjoy it.

As we continue with Karmasation and our jobs in advertising, we’ve learned from each experience and have already seen how we can apply our learnings from one circumstance to the other. Like karma, what comes around goes around. And in this case, we’d call it good karma!



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Finding the Right Balance

PaperOne day, you wake up and you are an Art Director. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, you have the Icona Pop song stuck in your head. You realize that you are exactly where you want to be—in the middle. Some people may want to be a little to the right or a little to the left, but I personally like to have my cake and eat it too. I started out my career with a big slice of interactive pie. For the past 4 years, I have worked for Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide’s NJ-based interactive marketing group. My key role was to work on various interactive projects (websites, iPads, banners, e-mails). I learned so much from my amazing co-workers. Some of them have left to find a different path in their design careers, but I still hold them all close to my heart. I will never forget the teachings of those from my past.

Today is a new day. I am pulling the cobwebs out of my brain and refreshing myself to the world where I began: PRINT! I went to college at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I remember spending my grocery money on expensive paper for my design projects. There is nothing better than walking down the north side of 18th Street toward 6th Avenue to Paper Presentations and then spending an hour feeling textured paper. I can still smell it. (Everyone close your eyes and smell the paper with me). In college, I mostly studied print. We all need to acknowledge and appreciate where we came from, because it made us into the designers we are today. Over the past few years, I have been lucky to help out with some print projects. I have been moving back and forth between print and digital for years now.

My new role as an Art Director for a women’s health client is like sunshine on a cloudy day. I am lucky enough to be working on both print and interactive design. For this particular project, we are working with another multimedia agency, located in NYC. My Art Director partner and I do a lot of traveling back and forth from New York to Jersey. Our collaborators hold most of the digital work, but now that I’m in town, we are bringing some of the interactive work to New Jersey, Ogilvy style (not to be confused with Gangnam Style). As we all know, it is hard to be the new kid on the block, and the agency has a wonderful, tight-knit interactive team. The more that I go there, the more I feel like a member of the design gang. The other day, the SVP Creative Director gave me an e-mail design test. He threw me some copy and a logo and let me at it. I came up with a few concepts that I felt confident about. When I met up with him the other day, we discussed the designs and it turns out that he really liked them. He said that they had a good balance of design and easy development. I couldn’t have been happier! It is always an exciting feeling when someone has seen your work for the first time. Each time is like a new chapter in your life, another page has turned where you get to prove yourself.

I think we all need to achieve a good balance of interactive and print. Most of us come from a print past and we need to look to the digital future. Print isn’t going anywhere. I still love paper, drawing in my sketchbook, and cutting things up with scissors. We also need to embrace the technology ahead of us. There is a lot of fun, innovative work coming our way and we all need to get excited about it! Let’s all strive for balance, because that is where we will be strongest!

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

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The Art of (Un)formatting a PowerPoint Presentation in 6 Easy Steps

It takes a tremendous amount of work to properly format a PowerPoint presentation, but in many cases it can take twice as long to (un)format one. If you find yourself adhering to any of the rules below, you are probably well on your way to mastering The Art of (Un)formatting a PowerPoint Presentation.


  1. Never refer to the slide master.The slide master informs the look and feel of the presentation. It dictates text box and header placement, bullet style, line spacing, and defines the color palette. There is absolutely no need to go there for styling cues, or to ensure consistency in your document.
  2. Refrain from placing logos, background art, or disclaimers into your slide master.
    Instead of placing them in the slide master where they belong, copy and paste all background art, logos, and disclaimers into every slide of your presentation. If done properly, when the logo or text needs to be updated, the user will have to make those changes to every single slide in your presentation.
  3. Do not use the “Bold Lead” layout built into most of our templates.
    It takes significantly longer to manually remove a bullet, select the line of text, and hit the
    “bold” button on the toolbar than it does to go into your layout and hit the “Bold Lead” template. Don’t forget to hit the spacebar 8-12 times to inaccurately match the indent present on the second line of text.
  4. Avoid using the built-in table feature.
    PowerPoint allows users to intuitively build tables by defining the number of rows and columns, and then automatically generating a stylized table based on your design template. Stay clear! Instead, create multiple text boxes, visually line them up as best you can to create a grid of boxes, and type in your content into each of them. To spruce it up, be sure to add your own divider lines, vertically and horizontally, to complete your manually created table.
  5. Always place a text box on top of a PowerPoint shape.
    Although users can create colored PowerPoint shapes and type their text directly into them, it makes more sense to place a text box over that shape and group the two items. The text box and shape are rarely aligned correctly, and the text never quite fits, but this approach is guaranteed to take longer and will make future edits more difficult.
  6. Finally, keep thinking of your presentation as a manuscript.
    PowerPoint is a presentation tool, not a word processing tool. It was designed to help presenters create visuals that support their talking points. Rather than keeping your slides simple and concise, cram them with as much information as possible. Ensure that your audience is completely ignoring what you are saying because they are reading the projected slide. Remember to add plenty of confusing charts that, while accurate, are so dense that the point you are trying to make is lost. And finally, don’t read 6 Tips for Outstanding Presentation Design, because this article might inspire you to think about your presentations a little differently.

While it may have its flaws, PowerPoint is a very powerful tool specifically created to help users
create presentations efficiently.

Do you harness its potential, or are you a Master in the Art of (Un)formatting?

Questions? Comments? You can contact the author directly at blog@ochww.com.
Please allow 24 hours for response.

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