By Erik Sine
If you haven't been aware or haven't been keeping up with the Electric Sign Industry there has been a big PR fight going brewing in the background slowly making itself to the forefront and it starts with WatchFire Signs mainly leading the war of American vs Chinese Import EMC Boards
It's been all over social media and LinkedIn a lot lately with all links pointed to Watchfire Signs
What is this all about?....The Short?
Watchfire Signs claiming the Imports break FCC regulations when it comes to emissions. That they can interfere with Broadcasting as well as cellular/data usage.
How real is it?
It's hard to know, placement is a big key along with usage, and individual EMC make up. But their painting it with a much, MUCH broader stroke IMO.
We've all seen this once before in the electric sign industry when it came to LED's with unfounded claims followed by the long mis-information & mis-characterization marketing campaigns over conventional light sources. LED manufacturers used and created regulation to strangle and utterly annihilate conventional light source manufacturers.
Though this is similar, it's also exaggerated and campaigning the FCC into a marketing sales tool.
No doubt there is some truth to the claims in certain situations, but it's being painted into a much larger problem than it really is.
They've involved and introduced a lot of fear marketing to the consumer, by they themselves paying massive fines and having to pay money for new EMC Boards to pass the FCC.
Where this will get bigger and unlike in the past where Sign Associations have shrugged their shoulders at LED MFG claims and omitted to act on behalf of Neon & Fluorescent light manufacturers, that most likely WON'T happen this time because their going to get dragged into a self-serving marketing campaign that might bite them selves in the ass at the end, not only for Sign Associations who will be asked to pick a side between a large paying membership/sponsorship & Advertising payers, but also for the EMC industry itself who might get the government and bureaucrat agencies to look at the industry with a microscope which may entail more regulation to sort out the "green washing" but also bump that cost to the consumer who after all will pay for the waged war.
We commented on a Linkedin WatchFire post a couple of weeks back when it comes to breaking emission standards, stating that most everything is produced in China, they have the worst pollution standards in the world and in no way would any manufacturer ever pass California standards. So if you take their "dirty" components from China and assemble them here in America is it suddenly now "Clean???"
I personally can care less which way this goes, I know the consumer will pay for it in the end like usual. But I've been in this industry long enough to see manufacturers use regulation, U.L. / NEC / IAEI to rub out their competitors by bending so called "Safety Standards" to their advantage. As I've said in the past, beware of the "Product, Environmental Safety Movement", it's the biggest industry/manufacturer killer and once unleased it doesn't care who's side you're on.
But this time their attempting to drag the sign associations into the street fight too.
LED Boards are big money, and they pay big money to Sign Associations like ISA (International Sign Association) and others. If they think they won't find themselves getting involved, or can simply ignore it, think again. They'll have a lot of companies looking at them and they'll have to pick a side, gain some money/membership here, and loose a lot over here.
This time it's a movement pushed and backed by bigger, more powerful funded dogs, Sign Associations will be asked, Errrrr.... demanded "to do what's right, and not do only what comes easy" as is their way in the past. After all these large LED Board Manufacturers basically make the sign conventions with their big floor spaces and sponsorships foreign or domestic. Their not funding these Associations for nothing after all every time we see a city pass a ban on these Boards a ISA rep is there before the ink is dry. The ISA Expo LED Park that they like to have on the floor will be at stake if nothing is done in the eyes of those that fund it. This is something the Neon & Fluorescent market should have done from day one with the sign associations when they were on top, instead of fighting to be the "Last Man Standing" in a small market that was one dominating. Lesson Learned.
This will be interesting. Sign Associations never gave two shits about letting the LED manufacturers spread mis-information and mis-characterize the Neon & Fluorescent manufacturers and community, which has been the Electric Sign Industries long standing heritage....So...
Watchfire Signs is marketing...
Watchfire Signs Doc
This may go, or it may all go nowhere at all BUT.....make no mistake.....I'll be watching how this all slowly unfolds with a beer in one hand and peanuts in the other from a distance
Hell, I think I better make an order for some hot wings with some extra ranch on the side, this may be a while!