Wednesday, November 17, 2010LUS needs to reach customers, and learn how to fight in the marketplace.
The Lafayette sign ordinance that Cox Communications (in)famously used to stick it to LUS Fiber recently is more than 6,800 words long. Signage, it turns out, isn’t a simple topic. The ordinance delineates about two dozen types of signs subject to restriction — billboards, directional signs, flashing signs, illuminated signs, monument signs, pole signs, readerboards and so on.
It was passed three years ago mainly to address the proliferation of so-called snipe signs on telephone poles at busy intersections — the ribbed, vinyl and coated-cardboard advertisements for tax preparers, vitamin elixirs (remember Mona Vie?), lawn services and the like. Snipe signs are defined by the ordinance as signs “made of any material, which is attached to a tree, pole, stake, fence, or other object, and which contains advertising matter that is not applicable to the use of the premises upon which it is located.”
The ordinance stipulates that one must get approval from the Planning, Zoning and Codes Department to put up any kind of sign in Lafayette; the fee city-parish government charges for removal is $100 per sign.
One wonders how many hundreds of dollars worth of these signs are gathering dust in a closet now that LUS has caved in and stopped offering them to new customers.
On a recent morning jog through my neighborhood, Oaklawn, I counted nearly a dozen signs similar in style to the LUS signs: scofflaw painters, hooligan plumbers and misdemeanor-minded roofers, depraved families hailing their children’s accomplishments on the playing field or the cheerleading squad. In a few weeks the nefariously pious will post the “Keep Christ in Christmas” snipe signs in their yards. They always do.
Clearly the sign ordinance isn’t enforced. But it’s hard to imagine that LUS was giving out the signs knowing the ordinance isn’t enforced. It’s easier to assume that LUS Fiber — a commercial venture run like a public utility by engineers and bureaucrats — didn’t consider whether this marketing idea was illegal and didn’t anticipate Cox challenging it.
The flap over the yard signs appears to be symptomatic of a broader failure by LUS to fully anticipate the many hurdles it would face in rolling out this new enterprise. As this week’s cover story indicates, LUS Fiber isn’t near where it anticipated it would be in terms of commercial success. Like many of its supporters, the LUS folk may have assumed that once the legal hurdles were cleared a few years ago, they could make a bee line from concept to reality. That hasn’t exactly been the case.
LUS needs to get its message out, and clearly yard signs are not going to be the way to do it.
My humble suggestion would be for LUS to do more advertising in The Independent, both our print and online versions. We’re pretty focused on the city of Lafayette, which comprises our main readership and LUS’ sole customer base. Plus, we’re a free pub. Advertising pays our salaries, of which we’re duly enamored.
Cox routinely buys ads and inserts in this publication. We thank them for it.
In a way we can also thank LUS Fiber for Cox’s ads. I would wager that Cox’s advertising budget in Lafayette — not to mention the sweet deals it offers to new customers — has increased substantially since some competition entered the market.
Judging from the tone of the comments on the ind.com related to our story last week about Cox threatening to sue LCG and LUS over its yard signs, many were aghast and offended that Cox would bully LUS over some silly signs.
But bullying this is not; it’s showing up at a knife fight with a damn knife. LUS showed up with good intentions and a spread sheet. The knife usually wins.
The flap over the yard signs appears to be symptomatic of a broader failure by LUS to fully anticipate the many hurdles it would face in rolling out this new enterprise.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
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The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
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Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
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It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
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An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
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