Sony Suing Over “Kevin Butler” Actor In Bridgestone Advert

Don't go near that Wii.

According to reports surfacing in the last hour or so, Sony are (as far as I can tell from a quick scout) suing Bridgestone and an advertising agency over – it appears – the inclusion of Jerry Lambert in a Bridgestone advert that featured the Nintendo Wii.

The advertising agency has Lambert as the president.

Jerry Lambert, who played the character Kevin Butler for SCEA for some time, recently appeared in a Bridgestone advertisement that had a Wii insert, sporting Mario Kart Wii. It was a part of a promotion by the tyre company in which buying a set of tyres bagged you a $70 credit card or – yes – a Wii.

About a week before the promotion ended, Bridgestone swapped out the advert for a Lambert-less version, but it’s since emerged that on September 11th Sony filed their complaint. I won’t pretend to understand the legalese, but the first filing is here, the second, dated a couple of days ago, is here.

Sony’s case appears to be based on Trademark Infringement of IP rather than being specifically about advertising a competitor’s product, even if it’s by extension. Does this mean Sony are claiming that the actor’s likeness is an IP?

Source, and more information: NeoGAF, Push Square.

19 Comments

  1. Saw this advert a while ago. It was a little bit surreal and just plain weird. Love him or loathe him, he’s become synonymous with the Playstation brand and Bridgestone never should’ve been used in the first place.

  2. The ad I saw, he wasn’t even playing it as KB, just an excitable lab assistant.

    Very odd by Sony, if it’s what it looks like on the face of it would make actors think twice about working with them for fear of having to wear a disguise for the rest if their careers.

    They must have money to burn or something

    • By expressly hiring Lambert in a console ad, Bridgestone was clearly surfing on the popularity of KB. That is enough for copyright infrigement, and any court will agree.

      • Sony hasn’t filed for copyright infringement…
        Funny how people suddenly become lawyers when something like this occurs. I personally think Sony is out of it’s mind. Surely with their financial troubles there are better ways to spend their money. Unless Lambert signed something that bound him to only do adverts for Sony consoles, there isn’t much they can do about this. The fact that they took him out of the adverts is interesting but as far as I know Lambert wasn’t appearing as Butler so there is not much to go on.

      • They suing cause he was playing the wii, therefore in a way that’s still advertisement. he is not entitled to advertise for the competitor for a certain period of time even if he is no longer at Sony. So Sony dies do have a case to work with & can finally make a profit lol

      • Could you provide a source to your information or do you wildly speculate what Lambert’s contract says?

      • Not speculating telling you a fact, if you advertise for one company, you cannot advertise for the competition for a period of time. In this situation it’s not about him advertise the tired or whatever it’s about what he was playing with breach of contract. Fit every actor that does advertising it is clearly outlined you cannot advertise for the competition for a period of time up to a year. Research it if you need to. 4 years of law at uni & am finally putting it to use

      • Apologies for the poor spelling, it’s meant say for actors not fit, tires not tired

  3. His role in there was so minuscule that it didn’t even make a difference whether he was there or not. The ad was horrible too imo. Way too long, way too much talking and way too much trying to be funny forced humour.

  4. If he had been playing Kevin Butler, then i would understand why they are suing him but he was just playing a lab assistant. Pretty sure that you can’t sue someone just for that. And it’s been over a year since the last Kevin Butler advert so the actor may have decided to do some other work to make ends meet.

  5. Probably contract stuff? meh (doesn’t understand)

  6. Looks like that’s the end of what was properly Sony’s best commercial campaign ever. Another missed opportunity from Sony.

  7. I think your right they are claiming that his likness cant be used for competitor products, which kind of sucks for him because its potential less work on his account.

  8. It was an odd decision for KB to do that advert but i don’t think he did much harm in the end besides embarrass Sony a little. Are they going to sue him and then ask him to do another KB advert campaign..?

  9. Since when does Sony ‘own’ an actor they used in their adverts?

  10. I keep waiting to see the headline: Sony Sues the World.
    If I was Jerry I would counter-sue. As popular as gaming culture has become trying to find an acting job that doesn’t involve gaming or Sony products could kill his career. Nobody will hire this guy now from fear of being sued. But I’m sure Sony has some form of contract that prohibited his likeness from appearing in a competitors commercial. The thing is, was this a Wii commercial or a bridgestone commercial that featured a Wii.
    Still though KB was the PS3s best, by-far, commercial. You’d think Sony would have taken better care of the guy. Just goes to show how little Sony cares for something after they’ve gotten what they want.

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