Thursday, March 20, 2008

Is EATEL stealing Durel's Idea?

EATEL is making waves by taking out full page ads in the Lafayette Advertiser advocating that the citizens of Acadiana take an offer that Cox would rather offer only to EATEL's customers. There was another full page ad in Wednesday's Advertiser and, according to the Independent, radio spots should start soon.

It's a daring idea to spend your own money to promote your opponent's good deals.

But maybe not entirely original: the idea was first floated right here in Lafayette by our own Mayor Durel just before the fiber referendum:

Durel commented on the possibility that Cox Communications and BellSouth could cut rates by as much as $30 to keep customers.

"If they lower their rates that much, I'll take a full ad out in Baton Rouge and say, 'You, too, can have these rates,'" Durel said. "I've talked to people around town, and if they can lower your rates by $30, what do you think they've been doing to you for 15 or 20 years?" (emphasis mine)

Indeed, that bears thinking about: either Cox can afford to take a 50% cut on its regular price and still turn a profit (in which case why are they charging you so outrageously now and pretending your price increases are all the fault of channel costs?) OR they are offering the promotion at below cost in order to drive EATEL out of the business (which would be a classic case of predatory pricing). You takes your pick. Neither says anything good about Cox. The Mayor had a real point back in '05. Take a look for yourself, the story can be scrounged up via the wayback machine. There's even a nostalgic BellSouth ad preserved on the page. The story brings back memories of the time and the fiery character of the Mayor.

Lagniappe Durel Nostalgia:

These "scare tactics," such as negative advertising, false information and promotion of current technology, are geared to create doubt, he said.

"They are desperately trying to defend a horse-and-buggy technology in a supersonic age,"

"It's a dream come true. I could hope for nothing more. It's a dream come true if there's a price war. Our citizens win."
Those were the days....

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