Bridgestone Says Kevin Butler Wasn't In Its Commercial With The Nintendo Wii

Sony is suing Jerry Lambert, the actor who plays Kevin Butler for "creating confusion" and "causing damage" to its company. Kevin Butler is a fictional PlayStation exec who appears in a series of popular commercials. Last month, however, Lambert appeared in a Bridgestone tyre commercial that featured the Nintendo Wii.

Now, Bridgestone is asserting that Kevin Butler didn't appear in its commercial. In a statement (via The Hollywood Reporter), Bridgestone says, "Mr Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer," say the defendant. "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 also points out that Lambert's role was not substantial. However, the commercial was eventually edited and Lambert was ultimately removed from the spot.

Sony recently explained to Kotaku why it was proceeding with the lawsuit: "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."

Sony Sues Actor Who Abandoned PlayStation for Nintendo Wii [The Hollywood Reporter via Eurogamer]


Comments

    Is Sony seriously run by idiots?

    The guy's name is Jerry Lambert. Not Kevin Butler. He makes a living as an actor. This was an acting role as a character who ISN'T Kevin Butler.

    You can't trademark an inidividual person's face. Morons.

      You can trademark a character though and when he still looks his normal self as the character... Sony at least has reason to complain.

        But he's not playing that character of Kevin Butler. You can't change a person's face. Unless Sony wants to pay for the plastic surgery.

        So if Jerry gets a role in the next Transformers movie, and Microsoft has a 360 as product placement like they did in the first one, will they sue him again?

        Serouiously, Sony has nothing here.

          At a glance, would someone go "Oh, Kevin Butler playing a Wii" or "Hey, Jeremy Lambert who I recognise from other shows"?

          It'll be the first one - that's what the problem is.

            It's a problem sure, but this reality is utterly frightening. That a business is able to sue an actor for wearing similar-ish clothing in his other work is ridiculous (assuming it's not stipulated in his contract that he can't appear in other commericals wearing a tie or whatever), that people feel this is acceptable is sickening. Unless the guy actually appears with 'Hi I'm Kevin Butler' he.is.an.actor. This is how he makes his living. Sony feel it's bad for their brand, sure, fire the guy for it, but that the law can be used to potentially ruin someone's livelihood because it MIGHT (keeping in mind there's no real tangible damages, merely percieved ones) hurt a businesses image.. just... ugh I'm not sure why that even needs explaning.

            "At a glance, would someone go "Oh, Kevin Butler playing a Wii" or "Hey, Jeremy Lambert who I recognise from other shows"?
            Seriously, break that down, you're saying the general population is too stupid to understand what an actor is, that an ADVERTISEMENT is not REAL.
            Your conclusion isn't then that people are silly and should be educated (or perhaps natural selection has taken a serious nosedive), it's that because people are that stupid, an actor doing his job should be sued into oblivion for playing a different role. I... just can't comprehend that logic.

              I think you hit the nail on the head early here - what this aaaall comes down to is what was in the contract between the actor and Sony. If they made him sign something to the effect of "will not appear in any other role which conflicts with the branding of Sony" in return for the consistent work they were giving him (and probably an increased pay rate than a one off acting job), then they have a right to sue.

              Without knowing the nature of his contract it's no use speculating on whether Sony has a case or not.

    I understand, but it's irrelevant.

    He is not Kevin Butler. He is the actor who plays Kevin Butler, playing a completely different character.

    Even if he was in a commercial, playing a Cross dresser, he would still look like a cross dressing Kevin Butler. Shoud Sony then sue him for tarnishing Sony's name because he's cross dressing.

      If he worked with Sony before as their face on any of their product. I am sure he signed a contract that he will not be allowed to promote other game companies. Same as to every single advertising business in the world. You can't be the face of Samsung and use iPhone. Pretty sure you read a few news that it happened before which caused a ruckus but they solve it internally so you won't know if the actor was sued for breaching the contract. Same goes to this situation if there was a binding contract yes Sony is right. Or else we have to hear more from both side.

        But here's the point...

        It's not a WII ad. It's a BRIDGESTONE ad. It just happened to have a Wii promo. He's not advertising the Wii. He's advertising BRIDGESTONE which is running a Wii promo! BRIDGESTONE is NOT a game company nor is it a DIRECT COMPETITOR to Sony.

        This lawsuits i basically grasping at semantic straws. Does this mean if the actor plays in a scene for a Car ad were he has to watch an LG TV on the couch he would be sued because he is "promoting" a competitors TV?

    Are they suing lambert or Bridgestone? I can see the point similar to sponsorship where if you use a rival product you may be dropped or sued. Maybe it's like a sponsorship arrangement with Sony.... Who knows interesting to see what will happen.

    It is not just his face, if you watch the ad he is a) dressed like the character b) made up in the same style as the character (hair is almost exactly the same) c) acts like the character d) is doing things the character is known for, it is clearly blatant that they wanted him to be recognised as the video game loving character of his Sony role.

    If you have seen some of Jerry's other work you will know he has a pretty good range, from eerily creepy to pretty damn funny so no you can't make the defense that its coincidental and that it is a frevioulous law suit. There is genuine claims of confusion, if you look at the youtube video for comments before the law suit news became big most people were talking about how Kevin Butler was playing a Wii, not that Jerry that guy who played Kevin Butler was playing a Wii.

    Last edited 10/10/12 9:50 am

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