Sony Sues Over Kevin Butler Appearance In Wii Commercial

Kevin Butler has become a rather popular spokes person for PlayStation products.  In their commercials, he portrays a rather likeable executive that is not afraid to speak his mind.  It seems that Sony likes him so much, that they do not want anyone else to use the actor.

However, Kevin Butler is not a real person.  In fact, the man behind the character is actor Jerry Lambert.

You might be wondering why Mr. Lambert is being featured in an article on a Nintendo site.  Well, it appears as though Jerry appeared in a Bridgestone Tire commercial recently.  The commercial is featuring a new promotion, titled Game On, which awards people that buy four tires either a $70 Gift card, or a Wii system.

Sony had the following to say about the appearance, “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.”

I have seen the commercial, and honestly did not even recognize Lambert in the ad.  In the original airing of the commercial, he was seen playing Mario Kart however in an edited version, the portion was cut out.  It appears as though his contract with Sony had ended just three days prior to the first commercial airing, but due to an exclusivity clause Lambert could be in legal trouble.

The clause states that the actor’s likeness cannot be used alongside any rival games products or console. Now, I understand where Sony is coming from, but this is a tire commercial, that just so happens to be holding a promotion to give away a video game system.

Bridgestone responded to Sony’s complaint with the following, “Mr. Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer. Bridgestone denies that Kevin Butler appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial,” Bridgestone defends.”

What are your thoughts on the case?  Personally, I hope this is just another spark that will start the console wars inferno!

 

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