Friday, 18 January 2013

Sony and Kevin Butler Actor Reach Settlement

I doubt he's going to be the V.P. of anything Sony related anymore.

Now that I've gotten real life out of the way again, for the moment at least, I figured that it would be nice to round out the week with the conclusion to a story that I posted a while back. You might have remembered when I made mention of Sony suing Jerry Lambert, the actor who portrayed Kevin Butler in a number of popular Playstation advertisements, over Lambert's appearance in a Bridgestone commercial. In said commercial Lambert had no speaking parts, but did appear as a technician enjoying a Wii console.

Basically, Sony alleged that Lambert was playing the Kevin Butler character in the Bridgestone commercial, which ran counter to an exclusivity agreement that Lambert had signed with Sony for use of the character. There was no definitive evidence to prove that Lambert was playing the Butler character in that ad, but Sony was undeterred and claimed that:

"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."

Now a couple of months later Lambert has settled with Sony in a deal that's decidedly in their favour: 

According to the settlement, Lambert acknowledged that his contract with Sony precluded him from promoting or endorsing competing game systems. Lambert also acknowledged that at the very least, confusion was created in the minds of some consumers who believed he was portraying the Kevin Butler character in both the PlayStation and Bridgestone commercials.


Under the terms of the settlement, Lambert agreed not to appear in any ad or promotion that features or even mentions “any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company” for a period of two years.

For the first part I can't speak as to whether or not I would have personally been confused, given that I didn't learn of this until after the lawsuit was underway. Given that Lambert only appears very briefly it might have been a case of "that guy looks familiar" but at the same time it was hardly him going on screen and saying "Hi, I'm Kevin Butler. You should get Nintendo products through this promotion since Sony is lame."
Given now it's an issue that's neither here nor there. Lambert isn't going to be doing any ads for any gaming related products anytime soon. Even after the two year enforced hiatus Lambert is going to have to approach Sony with any potential appearance in other gaming related commercials so that Sony can assess whether or not there's a chance for him to be misconstrued as the Butler character.

I very much doubt that Lambert is going to be doing any video game advertising anytime soon, even beyond the two years. I can only imagine that this has drastically soured any relationship that he may have had with Sony, which is a shame because the Kevin Butler ads were amusing and memorable in many cases, and helped generate some good press for Sony after the botch jobs that were some of the press conferences.

Oh well. Oh, and by the way, expect next week to get fairly political, because apparently while I was gone shit went down, and now I feel obligated to say stuff about that. God have mercy on what's left of my soul.

1 comment:

  1. The Kevin Butler character was awesome and I think Sony messed up by handling this the way they did.

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