It’s over folks! Sony has settled its fight against Jerry Lambert. Lambert admitted that him appearing in a Bridgestone tires commercial breached his contract with Sony and that the commercials created confusion in the minds of people who thought he was portraying Sony’s Kevin Butler. The new agreement says that Lambert cannot appear in any ads or promotions for any other game company other than Sony for a period of two years. After the two years are up, Lambert is free to do commercials for other game companies but he must first clear it with Sony.
Venture beat contacted Sony about this story and this is what they had to say:
Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. 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.
If you see the original commercial, the name Kevin Butler was never mentioned at all. Does Sony own the rights to Jerry Lambert’s likeness now? This is completely insane stuff. It would be interesting to see what Lambert’s contract with Sony says exactly.
Once again we’ll update as this story unfolds.
And things keep getting crazier with this story. Now it turns out that Sony is suing Bridgestone Americas Inc and Wildcat creek Inc.
To make matters even more interesting, it turns out that the president of Wildcat creek Inc is none other than Kevin Butler himself - Jerry Lambert. Sony is suing for trademark infringement which may mean that Mr. Lambert wasn’t supposed to appear in commercials that feature non Sony video game consoles. Jerry can still be seen in other Bridgestone tires commercials so the problem has to be that he was in a commercial with a Wii. Attempts have been made to settle the case privately but as of now, it isn’t happening and both parties have been ordered by the court to come to a decision (one way or another) by October 12.
We’ll update as this story unfolds.
Here is a link to the original commercial. BIG shout out to N4G user GamerSciz for linking this. The old footage has KB saying the vast majority of the lines. The woman next to him doesn’t say anything so I’m going to guess that the current version of the commercial is using another take of that same scene but with KB digitally taken out. We’re trying to find out more about this story so stay tuned for details as they become available.
So I’m sitting here trying to figure out what I’m going to do tonight when the Bridgestone commercial that has Kevin Butler comes on TV. I don’t normally watch commercials but this has KB in it so whenever it’s on I tend to pay attention. Only this time…something was different. What was that? Kevin Butler has gone missing from the commercial! I quickly nabbed my Sony Cybershot camera and recorded the commercial.
Here’s a bit of background info for those who don’t know. A few weeks ago, Kevin Butler, who is known as Sony’s VP of…everything was seen in a Bridgestone tires commercial playing a Nintendo Wii. Yes, “Kevin Butler” (real name Jerry Lambert) isn’t actually a real person and is just a persona created by Sony to promote their Playstation consoles but it was still weird to see him playing a Wii in a TV commercial. Well for reasons I don’t understand, he has been digitally removed from that commercial.
The part of the video that has obviously been altered is when the woman who is playing a Wii goes “I smoked you!” and does a little dance. KB was originally the one she spoke to but now she’s just talking to herself. The odd camera movements also show that this shot was heavily digitized. Weird right? To make matters even stranger; I went to Youtube so I could compare the two videos but try as I might, I could no longer find it. Bridgestone has pulled it due to “a copyright claim”. I have NO idea what this means.
So yeah this is pretty wacky stuff. Yes, I realize this isn’t exactly MEGATON news or anything but it is pretty amusing, especially if you follow gaming culture the way I do. I’ll definitely bring this up on next week’s The Throwdown and let DJKillzown Jones go to town on this with his conspiracy theories.