SPARKING an international media frenzy over a car colour, Stornoway became a topic of conversation across the globe this week.
Having discovered the latest shade of Land Rover was called 'Stornaway Grey', Cllr Angus Nicolson lodged a petition to have the name changed to something much more complimentary.
But making the headlines and stirring up feelings all across the world was not something he anticipated, yet the reaction has given him even more drive to succeed.
Explaining that he first spied the colour while browsing online, he added that although 'no publicity is bad publicity', it is important to give the right impression of the islands.
"It is not a good thing at all especially when people have been discussing Stornoway online saying that it must be really grey. We are spending so much money trying to market the Isles and although it is good to get people talking about Stornoway and Lewis, we have to give the right impression which could attract more people here."
And so putting his foot down on the issue, especially as Stornoway is spelt incorrectly in the UK version of the car colour, Cllr Nicolson has now started an online petition to ask Land Rover to change the name and to create another colour to celebrate the beauty of the islands.
His petition states: "We, the undersigned, believe that the description of a paint colour by Land Rover as 'Stornaway Grey' is offensive, inaccurate and inherently degrading. We call on Land Rover to rename this colour to 'Silvery Stornoway', and to define and name a new colour to more accurately represent the beautiful, bright and vibrant colours that can be found in the sea and on land. This will more accurately represent the Western Isles in the mind of tourists and to Land Rover drivers."
With more than 150 signatures already on his petition, Cllr Nicolson is hoping to cut some corners and present Land Rover with the petition in the near future.
He concludes: "They wouldn't get away with a colour called London drab or smoky Birmingham and they seem to think they can insult us in that way. This has bad connotations and I think we can get a colour that can much better represent the island."
And despite the furore which has surrounded the name of one of their best selling car colours, Land Rover stress that they are not in fact intending to depict Stornoway as 'grey' as such.
A spokesperson for the company said: "Stornoway Grey replaced the previous Bonatti Grey. We are not describing Stornoway as grey - we are describing our grey as stunning and impressiv, as Stornoway can be. Land Rover has a deep affection for Scotland, having staged a number of very successful events there. Stornoway Grey is one of Land Rover's strongest and most popular colours. It is the designer's choice for the all new Freelander 2 as it enhances the clean cut, sculptural nature of what will be our best selling product.
"Our colours are named after strong, rugged and authentic locations that capture the essence of Land Rover. Stornoway is in the company of Rimini, Zermatt, Sumatra and Tambora, among others. Far from damaging tourism to the Isle of Lewis, the use of Stornoway will help keep it on the map."
The colour 'Stornoway Grey' was previously used for Aston Martin cars, however this has now been replaced by another name.