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Submitted by GamePodunk 1220d ago | opinion piece

Sony Is Only Hurting The Playstation Brand By Suing Kevin Butler's Actor

GP writer Jared discusses why he Sony could be hurting the Playstation brand by suing the actor behind one of their most famous mascots. (Culture, Kevin Butler, PS3, PSP, Sony)

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CalvinKlein  +   1220d ago
I never liked him anyways so I dont care, but thats rough hes just the working man and they are looking for money trying to keep him down because he played with his wii.
jujubee88  +   1220d ago
He gained his popularity among the gaming audience through a long line of PS3 commercials.

Without those commercials, he would have just been known by a few people in the gaming sphere through the sitcoms he has appeared in.
Kevin ButIer  +   1220d ago
Note title should said: Sony Is Only Hurting My wallet By Suing Kevin Butler's Actor
jujubee88  +   1220d ago
@Kevin ButIer

Duly noted.
Persistantthug  +   1220d ago
You're f'd now Kevin.....
You're f'd now.

knowyourstuff  +   1220d ago
The actor isn't being sued, Bridgestone is being sued, for having some strange affiliation with the Nintendo Wii... lol really strange if you ask me.

Sony will have destroyed their relationship with Kevin Butler the actor, which only goes to show this decision to sue was done solely by Sony's lawyers looking to make money in court. Now Kevin Butler won't be in ANY future commercials, and Sony went along with the short term cash of suing rather using the character in future marketing campaigns. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Lawyers ruin everything!

And what is this Kevin Butler doing anyway working for directo competitors? Doesn't anyone have any loyalty anymore? Is Sony not paying him enough? He should know Sony would be pissed at him for promoting a directo competitor, I mean what is that! If he runs a marketing campaign and has made his own image a central part of each advertisement, then you can't expect to use your likeness to go and promote a direct competitor!
DarthJay  +   1220d ago
What exactly is your point? People only knew Mark Hamill for a while because he was Luke Skywalker. Is Luke Skywalker the only character he should have ever been allowed to be?

I could literally go on and on and on. Yeah, the guy got a break of sorts because the Kevin Butler character was popular with gamers, but how much do you people think he actually made on those commercials? MAYBE 5K per? Probably a whole lot less.

The lawsuit is a joke. I don't see anything alleging he had a no compete clause, and he didn't use the Kevin Butler name. No leg to stand on.
#1.1.5 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(6) | Report
jujubee88  +   1220d ago
Why are people arguing at me?

I just stated a fact, I never said I would make an argument or counter the arguments thrown at me.


#1.1.6 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report
MAJ0R  +   1220d ago
You are so wrong. Sure the Kevin Butler character give him recognition in the gaming world, but he is popular for doing hotel ads for Holiday Inn, as well as other commercials.
darthv72  +   1219d ago
this is....
just stupid. you gamers know nothing about the advertising business. I wont pretend to know either so it is what it is.

I can say this though. Sony can really only sue for the use of KB outside their marketing division if that is the character he was portraying.

An example. the person who plays the voice of bart simpson was doing a promo for something completely unrelated to the simpsons. That did not go against her contract (yes the voice of BS is played by a woman) however she inadvertantly went into bart voice mode during the promo and that was a violation.

she got sued or they settled but ultimately her using the character voice without authorization was the wrong doing. Not just simply doing something else.

So for whatever legalities, sony thinks they can sue these guys for him doing his job as an actor (an unrelated actor) by way of simple association of him in a tire commercial that included a wii.

For shame sony...for shame.
Information Minister  +   1219d ago
If he had a non-compete clause in his contract that prevented him from advertising anything related to gaming products not manufactured by Sony, than he absolutely had to see this one coming!

The commercials Jerry Lambert did for Sony are probably the reason why Bridgestone noticed him in the first place. The conflict of interests is obvious!

We don't have all the details of how the different companies involved in this matter interacted with each other (intentionality, foul play, etc...), but it's safe to say that Sony is hurting the Playstation brand as much as Lambert is hurting his own company.
#1.1.9 (Edited 1219d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report
t0mmyb0y  +   1219d ago


lol that is all
nukeitall  +   1219d ago
Kevin Butler Vice President of the making Nintendo awesome?
fei-hung  +   1220d ago
No. The only person this article is hurting is the idiot who wrote it.

Where are all these troll journalists coming from?!
barb_wire  +   1220d ago
Well, I guess it depends on what kind of contract HE signed with Sony.. for all we know the contract could've stipulated that he can't appear in any ad's (print or TV) showing him with another console other than Sony PS line.
Legion  +   1220d ago
Again they are not suing the actor they are suing the companies for using the Kevin Butler character. Which they DID NOT. No mention of the character name or any resemblance to the Kevin Butler other then the fact he looks the same (duh) and he is playing a video game.

So Sony is basically saying they patented his likeness? Not possible...

Why didn't they sue David Hayter for voicing another character in a video game other then Medal Gear? His voice is just as identifiable.

And Michael Ironside doing anything outside of Sam Fisher will mean what? He can't use his voice anymore?
#1.3.1 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(4) | Report
dboyc310  +   1220d ago
People are making it seem that the ps3 fan base is going to rally behind the Butler persona. The majority of the ps3 install base have no idea or even bother to pay attention to this character. The only ppl who know him are folks that go to blogs and gaming websites on the daily bases which isn't a lot of the install base. Don't see how this can hurt sony.
StraightPath  +   1220d ago
sony just seem like a jealous envious butthurt money grabbing organisation.
Anon1974  +   1220d ago
Ridiculous. If some random company came out and started advertising with the Master Chief, you'd better believe they'd have to answer for it. Would that ensuing lawsuit hurt the Xbox brand? Of course not.

Sony pr created the character. Obviously the actor needs to work but you don't see Daniel Craig going around using Bond to sell items and cash a paycheck.

And obviously Bridgestone knew they stepped in it because they edited Kevin Butler out of the commercial.

Finally, Sony isn't suing the actor. They're suing Bridgestone and the actor's company (which he just happens to be ceo of, I understand). Everyone involved should have known better and I'm sure this will settle out of court quickly enough.
JellyJelly  +   1220d ago
"If some random company came out and started advertising with the Master Chief, you'd better believe they'd have to answer for it."

That's a bad example and strays from the truth. A correct example would be:

"If some random company used the guy who played Master Chief but in a different role, with no name, advertising tires for Bridgestone."

I think the thing is Sony's lawyers didn't write a proper contract with Lambert, and now they're getting greedy. Only hurting themselves. Seriously, where is the win for Sony in sueing Lambert?
darkpower  +   1220d ago
So Jerry isn't allowed to ever take another acting role again just because his face is owned by Sony by some backwards logic?
joeorc  +   1220d ago
"Finally, Sony isn't suing the actor. They're suing Bridgestone and the actor's company (which he just happens to be ceo of, I understand). Everyone involved should have known better and I'm sure this will settle out of court quickly enough."

agreed, and when this news was put on here in Sunday, the person who posted it failed to read the reference legal doc's. Or maybe they did and decided the bad PR damage was worth it anyway to show Sony in a bad light, when in the reference doc's part 14 the Sony's Legal Team already moved the case to be moved An ex parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present.

in other words like you stated it was being moved to outside of the court case, and the Hint of that was Bridge Stone pull jerry out of the TV Ad. does that tell you what happened. it was a Breach of contract , and its being settled already.
#1.6.3 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report
NYC_Gamer  +   1220d ago
We can't speak on who is right or wrong.None of us have a copy of the contract that was signed by both parties..Its all business for these companies at the end of day and sometimes things get ugly.
MHenderson  +   1220d ago
Damn right, the people love him. Sony's most disappointing move with All-Stars is not having him as a playable character.
richierich  +   1220d ago
Kevin Butler wasnt even funny on either side so I dont see the difference or what the fuss is about
PopRocks359  +   1220d ago
Legally it may or may not be an appropriate move. It's just unfortunate, given that the chance of more Kevin Butler ads is now pretty slim. I really liked those ads too.
iluvMS   1220d ago | Spam
False-Patriot  +   1220d ago
What? Where is the connection between Kevin Butler and the PlayStation brand?
Yardie  +   1220d ago
Kevin Butler is the character from the PlayStation adverts played by Jerry Lambert.

Where is the connection between Ronald McDonald and McDonald's?
False-Patriot  +   1220d ago
Ronald McDonald is a maskot of McDonald's, Kevin Butler is not a maskot of Sony.
Jockamo  +   1220d ago
absolutely (except you spelled mascot wrong)
Yardie  +   1220d ago
He may not have been an official mascot for PlayStation, but he served the same purpose.

He was a reoccurring character used to represent PlayStation, albeit for a short time.
P_Bomb  +   1220d ago
Microsoft has sued and been sued a hundred times, from going after high school kids like Mike Rowe to being nuked themselves in the US government's anti-trust case. Hasn't hurt the XBox brand to be associated with MS, neither will this hurt Playstation. Heck, part of Microsoft's settlement with Mike Rowe was they gave him an XBox .
#8 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(13) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
Blankman85  +   1220d ago
Xbox has never sued Master Chief though. . .
XabiDaChosenOne  +   1220d ago
There is no way you could have been serious ROFLMAO!
Sgt_Slaughter  +   1220d ago
They're suing Bridgestone, not the actor himself.
PirateThom  +   1220d ago
They're also suing the marketing company, which Jerry Lambert is CEO of.

Also, Sony seem to think the character appearing advertising a rival's console is hurting the brand, but best to not take that into consideration, it's definitely Sony's fault.
sjaakiejj  +   1220d ago
And even that's a rumor, not a confirmed fact.

Articles like this one are mind boggling. They misinterpret the information published by another source, and then ignore the fact that it's a rumor.

Also PirateThom, he may be the CEO of the company, but suing the company is very different from suing the actor himself.
Pintheshadows  +   1220d ago
Why are they suing a tyre manufacturer?
StreetsofRage  +   1220d ago
This is a cry baby move by Sony.
Silly gameAr  +   1220d ago
And more "ammo" for certain fanboys. Then again, Sony doesn't have to do much to hurt their brand for the more sensitive types. Go nuts guys.
#10.1 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(16) | Disagree(7) | Report | Reply
ritsuka666  +   1220d ago
Agreed, hopefully Lambert can prove that basically he is playing himself so Sony loses this.
Yodagamer  +   1220d ago
Well sony's the one who has to prove that he was trying to use the same character, and i doubt sony can as the guy didn't even talk in the commercial.
extermin8or  +   1219d ago
you realise in court if they can prove the characteristics and lines used by the actor are similar enough then they could well be awarded this even if he was just playing himself more obscure things have won cases in the bast...
Jockamo  +   1220d ago
The only person that's hurt in this thing is Lambert. His career is now bye-bye.
Griffin4871  +   1220d ago
Sony loves money. They will find every opportunity to gain it so suing is efficient in doing so.

It's quite sad. Sony wouldn't be hated on if they didn't perform monumentally stupid decisions such as this.

KB ain't no Sony fanboy, so Sony will only rage.
#11 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(13) | Disagree(15) | Report | Reply
InTheLab  +   1220d ago
Frivolous law suit dropped on the one man that single highhandedly rescued PS marketing from the drowning it was doing since the PS1 days...

When KB or Jerry or whatever his name is trotted out on stage a few E3s ago and brought the house down, I thought for sure Sony would have franchised him..

This is their own doing..
sarshelyam  +   1219d ago
I think it's pretty clear what's going on here. It's not an attack against Lambert, but the consumer confusion the commercial and context propagates. If you think about it, Lambert's face has been plastered all over Sony marketing over the last few years. That's a lot of money spent on branding an image for PlayStation in the name of Kevin Butler. The moment a casual gamer sees this "Kevin Butler" holding something other than a PlayStation product (a Wii remote for example), the integrity of the character is breached and the validity of the character (regardless of if it's an acted role) is compromised.

The actor is free to do what he pleases as long as it doesn't directly place him in a role supporting the competition, within the same industry. If it was Lambert simply in a Bridgestone commercial and there was no promotion for Video Games, the Wii specifically in this case, it wouldn't even be an issue.
AngelicIceDiamond  +   1220d ago
I'm just confused over the lawsuit hes an actor that worked for Sony. If Sony can't pay him to represent the PlayStation 3 then theres no lawsuit to be had. So Sony is suing for the actor and not his character "Kevin Butler." Yeah that makes no sense from both cases. Unless Sony trademarked Kevin Butler.

As I said before Sony's doing this to makes cash which is understandable, if they had a legitimate case going which I fail to see.
#13 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
sarshelyam  +   1219d ago
You're missing the point. If this was simply Lambert in a Bridgestone commercial with no video game theme, all would be fine. As I understand it, the breach of contract comes in the form of his image attached to something other than the PlayStation brand. Makes sense to me.

The average to casual gamer would likely see Jerry Lambert as Kevin Butler "the PlayStation guy". The moment he's seen as supportive to anything other than PlayStation, that's money spent not doing its job and creating consumer confusion. It's a valid case.
Pintheshadows  +   1220d ago
Why can no one move forward without suing anymore?

Sony let the Kevin Butler character go. If I left a job and joined a new company occupying the same role I wouldn't get sued. And as for the contract the guy would have had with Sony (note: past tense) it stopped being relevant when Sony let him go. He isn't an IP and I doubt Jerry Lambert was naive enough to hand Sony the rights to 'Kevin Butler' in any way.

It just sounds like the typical actions of a large corporations legal department. I hope it gets thrown out.

I know it's not directly related but Paul Lambert, the former manager of Norwich is suing them as when he FORCED THEM into terminating his contract so he could move to Aston Villa, they activated a clause which meant he didn't get the payout he would have if he had been sacked. He was the one who forced the move FFS.
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PirateThom  +   1220d ago
There's all sorts of clauses in contracts that will forbid people from working for rival comapnies even after leaving the employment of a company because they can carry information to the rival company and they need to ensure they've moved on. It can sometimes be over a year before you can seek employment even within the same industry!

Sony wouldn't just sue for the sake of it, they may have had a clause in the contract that means he can't advertise rival's consoles for a certain amount of time after they stopped the ads. I have said a few times, if this was just Bridgestone Tyres being advertised, even with the same persona, it would be fine, you can't sue a personality. However, the moment he used that personality and a rival console, then it may have breached a contract he had with Sony.

I'm genuinely shocked people think Sony are just going to sue with absolutely no case.
#14.1 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(17) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
Pintheshadows  +   1220d ago
No, I fully expect they do have a case, it's just an unscrupulous move, that's all. And i'm pretty sure that (in the UK at least) new employment legislation has prevented that type of contract from being enforced.
CalvinKlein  +   1220d ago
tire company is not a rival of sony tho. The tire company was working with nintendo and he was working with the tire people. Who knows if his contract says he cant work with companies that work with his rivals.

What if he appeared in a TV show playing a wii or with a wii on the set? Could they sue him them you think? Its not like he made the decision. This is like an actor being sued by his sponsors because the costume people put him in a shirt of one of their competitors. Its not like he was in a nintendo commercial.
#14.1.2 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report
Mr-Dude  +   1220d ago
Sure,i have an idea let's put up a flamebait item... Why not, it's Sunday nobody cares, so go nuts!

ChunkyLover53  +   1220d ago
Seems greedy and wrong for Sony to sue an actor just because he got an acting job in a commercial and he's seen with a Wii.

I think you need to pick and choose your battles, but Sony is clearly in the wrong here.
majiebeast  +   1220d ago
No i think they are suing for advertising a rival product which he did even if it wasnt in a Nintendo commercial.
#16.1 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(11) | Report | Reply
PygmelionHunter  +   1220d ago
"but Sony is clearly in the wrong here" You're basically asking for disagrees.
FanMan  +   1220d ago
why do people care about disagrees?? who gives a sh*t? it doesnt mean or change anything.
iluvMS   1220d ago | Spam
wastedcells  +   1220d ago
He is a Sony troll. You'll see him on every article that's doom an gloom or negative towards Sony.
wastedcells  +   1220d ago
How do you know maybe it's a breach of contract. You don't take a job as a main voice for a company and do a ton of commercials only to use it to do something that breaks your contractual agreement.
Jason_Tanner  +   1220d ago
Even if Sony has the right to sue Kevin, it still negatively affects their image in my opinion.
TheLiztress  +   1220d ago
I don't know. It depends on quite a number of factors: how much they are suing for and their willingness to work behind closed doors to settle without dragging either parties name through the mud.
Mikey Mike  +   1220d ago
Lambert signed a conflict of intrest clause, he broke that clause.... Game Over!
Silly gameAr  +   1220d ago
Yeah, it's that simple, but lets pretend we're mad about this and rage against the man on N4G and all that good stuff.
Gridloc  +   1220d ago
KB probably had a no-compete clause in his contract with Sony. Then he appeared in a commercial with the Wii and this is the reason for the lawsuit.
@ Mikey. Sorry for posting the same.
#19 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
TheLiztress  +   1220d ago
Unless either party releases the contents of the contract between them, I feel neutral on this whole deal. If it's proven that he was not to appear in any commercial or media with any of Sony's competitors, then he's at fault. Otherwise, this could be Sony jumping the gun.
Frankfurt  +   1220d ago
Just Sony being Sony.

Anyone suprised hasn't been following Sony for more than 5 minutes.
MastaPiff  +   1220d ago
Contract-smontract... It's the world interpeting everything to the letter that causes these problems. Sometimes reason needs to win the day. I respect KB (fist bump!) a hell of a lot more than ANYBODY that works @ Sony (coming from a "kinda" PS fanboy here) I can even forgive him for the ad. Forgiving Sony I haven't done for a while (hence the "kinda") cuz of crap like this... I think all companies prefer you hate them but still prefer their products... "Trap or Die" (Big businesses motto in the 21st century...)
Soldierone  +   1220d ago
The thing I don't agree entirely with is them going after him. He should be going after the companies that copied their idea's and used him to do it.

If they used someone else, then it wouldn't be as bad. However using him, they obviously were trying to trick Sony's customers into buying their product simply because he was doing something similar (was the "gamer" guy in the commercials)
sarshelyam  +   1219d ago
Jerry Lambert, the actor of the Kevin Butler role, owns the firm that produced the Bridgestone commercial, in which he starred, until recently they edited him out.

He's directly involved, and solely responsible.
Soldierone  +   1219d ago
Didn't read that part, so in that regards I agree they should be going after him.

Honestly didn't know of a single person that didn't make the PlayStation connection. There were even articles saying "look Kevin Butler Went To Wii!"
Demarco156  +   1220d ago
sony is NOT suing jerry
joeorc  +   1220d ago
"sony is NOT suing jerry"

i do not know why you are getting a disagreement, you are 100% correct. just because jerry is the CEO of Wildcat Creek, Inc advertising firm.

"Inc" see that people want to know why jerry put his company in a Inc? its very simple. Jerry is not being sued, and for a reason!

"Incorporation provides legal protection for business owners that no other type of business ownership can afford. Through incorporation, the assets of owners remain completely separate from the assets of the business thereby limiting the overall liability owners can face in the event of business failure. To meet the legal definition of a true corporation, certain conditions must be met, including regular meetings with a board of directors, accurately recording the minutes of all board meetings, issuing stock certificate of ownership and filing the necessary paperwork with the state on a annual basis. Failure to do any of these steps can negate the incorporation and pass liability directly to the owners."

let that sink in real good. Sony could not directly Sue Jerry only the Ad agency. And the case is being moved ex parte order anyway.


dismissal before the answer or appearance of the defendant(s).

which was in the legal doc.s for this case in reference 14 of the legal doc's. which the person who posted this already knew or posted it anyway. knowing full well it was being settled out of court!
sarshelyam  +   1219d ago
All it means is that his money is safe when the fit hits the shan. He's still a hand in the cookie jar.
joeorc  +   1219d ago
"All it means is that his money is safe when the fit hits the shan. He's still a hand in the cookie jar."

No it still means bluntly that this Law suit was not aimed at jerry, it was aimed at the Ad agency. point is its not who the law suit was aimed at, the point is it was aimed at the agency that employed such action.
TemplarDante  +   1220d ago
I wasnt too fond of the Kevin Butler character BUT it did add a human aspect to the very sterile PR Sony was doing at the time.
This shouldve been settled out of court.
izumo_lee  +   1220d ago
Like i said in a previous thread it was a lack of judgement on Jerry Lambert's case for appearing in a promotional ad for a competitor of Sony if he was under contract.

Still i believe this will be settled out of court & that the Kevin Butler character will probably cease to appear in further Sony ads which is a shame cause he was entertaining.
MrDead  +   1220d ago
This is how business works, if you don’t like it then tough luck

"The lawsuit filed on September 11, 2012 in a California District Court claims a trademark infringement and is filed by Sony Computer Entertainment of America LLC (SCEA) against Bridgestone Americas, Inc and Wildcat Creek, Inc which is an advertising company".
#27 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
chukamachine  +   1220d ago
Oh no.

It only does suing.
Straightupbeastly  +   1220d ago
The playstation brand doesn't need anymore help hurting itself lol
shutUpAndTakeMyMoney  +   1220d ago
ps3 sold as much or more than xbox though so xbox is hurting to.

In an alternate universe called japan MS is hurting. Also xbox is second place in the UK.
#29.1 (Edited 1220d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
jd666  +   1220d ago
Don't get attached to that last bubble! lol
azazel665   1220d ago | Spam
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