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.
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The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
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The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
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Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
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The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
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Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
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The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
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