You all know Kevin Butler – he was pretty amusing at times. Sadly the fake PlayStation executive is no longer part of Sony’s advertising campaign. The actor behind Butler, Jerry Lambert, has obviously moved on to other things, one of which was a TV advert for Bridgestone Tyres.
The Bridgestone Tyres advert would have been innocuous had it not been for the Wii console promotion: buying a set of tyres netted the purchaser a new Wii console. In the advert (which has been removed from YouTube but a copy can still be seen here), Lambert is seen playing on the Wii console. He’s obviously not playing the character of Kevin Butler, but he’s instantly recognisable and practically synonymous with the PlayStation brand.
The original advert was purposefully altered after it was aired, and all trace of Jerry Lambert was expunged. You can see the altered advert here. That, however, was not good enough for Sony because they are suing both Lambert and Bridgestone.
The lawsuit was filed on 11 September and is aimed at Bridgestone and a company called Wildcat Creek. Wildcat Creek is owned by actor Jerry Lambert and is the company he’s set up to run his acting career. The suit is supposed to be settled privately and out of court, but if nothing is worked out between Bridgestone, Lambert and Sony, then the case will go to court on 12 October.
Sony has issued the following statement:
“Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a law suit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market and causes damage to Sony.”
Bridgestone and Lambert have yet to issue any formal statement.