Sony Sues Bridgestone and Ad Agency Over Kevin Butler Actor
Over the last few years, some of the best PlayStation 3 commercials featured fictional executive Kevin Butler. His "titles" with Sony were varied and coincided with whatever game was being advertised, from the MLB: The Show games to Killzone 3, God of War 3, and titles shown at E3. Butler, played by Jerry Lambert, quickly became the face of the PS3 due to the humorous commercials, and is a face many people associate with Sony. Earlier in the year, Lambert was one of several actors to appear in a series of Bridgestone commercials advertising a new tire technology to "replace" the ball in certain sports. That wasn't much of an issue, but recently Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc, an ad agency with Lambert as president, started running a promotion where customers can get either a gift card or a Nintendo Wii. Lambert is shown playing a game on the system, and that presents the problem that Sony is now suing over.
Sony filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc due to "violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract, and tortious interference with a contractual relationship." Basically, Sony is suing over the Kevin Butler image because of the actor playing a Nintendo console. As Sony puts it: "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." The commercial with Lambert playing the Wii has been altered to completely remove him from it, but it still originally aired with him. Hopefully all of this can be cleared up without getting too messy, but whether or not the Kevin Butler character will ever appear again for Sony remains to be seen.