DEMANDS for the removal of a cheeky 50 Shades of Grey-themed sign are unrelated to a complaint it is “offensive”, council chiefs have insisted.
The advertising board for Bathgate-based home improvement store 1st Choice Living shows a naked woman in handcuffs and bears the slogan “Fifty Shades of Window”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the hit erotic film.
The sign, just off the M8 near Bathgate, urges customers not to get “tied up with our competitors”.
The council has received just one complaint about the sign which is understood to relate to its risqué subject matter.
But West Lothian council has said that the request to take down the sign had nothing to do with the content of the sign itself and was because it is in breach of planning regulations.
Derrick Findlay, managing director of 1st Choice Living, said the the billboard itself had been there for more than four years without any issues.
He said: “We really jumped on the back of the movie because it is current and people are talking about it. It’s fresh and I thought ‘let’s do an ad campaign around it’.
“I have spent quite a few thousands of pounds and that’s going to be completely wasted if they take it down.
“More than 3,000 people have seen the sign on Facebook and it gets seen by thousands of motorists every day but I have not had one complaint.
“People have said ‘It’s ‘quirky’, ‘It’s ‘different, ‘It’s borderline’ but no one has said it’s offensive before we had the call yesterday.
“There’s worse things on TV from advertising and they get away with it.”
Mr Findlay claims that a council official told a colleague over the phone that there had been complaints that the sign was offensive and that this is why it must be removed.
But a West Lothian Council spokesman said: “The display of advertisements in this location requires the consent of the council.
“No consent has been sought and the advertisements are unauthorised.
“We have required the removal of such unauthorised advertising elsewhere in West Lothian and will continue to do so.”
He added: “We have also received a complaint regarding the content of the advert, which is a matter for the Advertising Standards Authority.”
Mr Findlay claims to have received no official letters demanding the removal of the sign and vowed to fight the council through his solicitors.