Top
300°

Sony reckons Kevin Butler was in tyre ad, Bridgestone reckons he wasn't

Bridgestone has issued a response to Sony's lawsuit claim, stating that Jerry Lambert was in no way possible portraying the Kevin Butler character in the alleged commercial.

Sony has meanwhile claimed that Jerry Lambert's appearance is part of what makes the Kevin Butler character, and are thus making that the main basis of their complaints.

Read Full Story >>
eurogamer.net
The story is too old to be commented.
mafiahajeri1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

This has got to be the funniest lawsuit ever. Stupid move from bridgestone and Kevin butler himself. They were asking for a lawsuit...

cl19831447d ago

The Keven Butler character is Jerry Lambert in a suit. In Bridgestones commercial he is Jerry Lambert in a lab coat. Now with out reading the contract the question comes down to when Jerry could start shooting with other game systems,

matgrowcott1447d ago

It's not even a question though. Whether the contract is valid or not, it's up for a judge to decide whether Bridgestone (and Nintendo) have benefited from a character created by Sony.

If Sony can prove damages to their brand, it's an open and shut case. And given that around the web people were saying "hey look, Kevin Butler advertising Nintendo," it shouldn't be that hard to prove.

vega2751447d ago

sony's contract with Jerry Lambert ended at the end of august 2012. the bridgestone commercial with him playing the wii started in september three days after his contract ended.

"was entered into on 7th August 2009 and contained an exclusivity clause that prevented Lambert from working for PlayStation competitors, such as Nintendo. The contract expired at the end of August 2012. The Bridgestone ads appeared on TV three days later"

sony's just acting like a jilted lover who has been dumped by their girl and found out she's dating someone else days later. it's just pathetic on sony's part

cl19831447d ago

@matgrowcott
Sony could only copy right Keven Butler as a vp of sony, not Jerry Lambert natural looks.

Its just like everyone knows Fonzie from Happy Days, that doesn't stop Henry Winkler from still being an actor.

matgrowcott1447d ago

@cl1983

Nobody is talking about copyrighting anything. What I'm saying is, Sony could easily say that Nintendo (through Bridgestone) is trying to cash in on the goodwill/publicity that Sony has built (which is what they ARE saying) and that Jerry Lambert was accomplice to that.

All it would take is for a judge to rule that the above was their intention - and given Lambert's popularity as Kevin Butler, it's not going to be hard for their lawyers to build a case.

It's nothing like Henry Winkler. It WOULD be like Henry Winkler if a company put millions of dollars into turning him into a icon for a certain product or brand and then another company used Henry Winkler in advertising a rival product.

@vega275

Sony isn't a person, it's a company and it's going to react if it has been screwed over. Using your own analogy though, this situation is more like maxing your credit cards trying to impress a girl and then finding out she's gone and used the dresses and jewellery you bought to impress your sports team rival. Wouldn't you want a little of that cash back?

cl19831447d ago

@matgrowcott
quoting from article Sony, citing a breach in US trademark law, reckons the ad "depicts a Bridgestone employee who consumers reasonably perceive to be Kevin Butler

Sony can only trade mark the character not Jerry's normal appearance ie Face and normal body size.

vega2751447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

I've never said sony is a person. I said they are "ACTING" like a jilted lover.

"this situation is more like maxing your credit cards trying to impress a girl and then finding out she's gone and used the dresses and jewellery you bought to impress your sports team rival"

that's not the case at all. because nintendo didn't hire jerry lambert to promote the wii. jerry contract was up at the end of august. so he was free to do whatever he wanted.this will in no way hurt sony. because it's sells wasn't dependant on kevin butler or wasn't purchased because he was their mascot.so in no way is sony screwed over. since their business isn't hurting because of this.

so as you put it. sony maxed out their credit card buying sexy outfits only to findout that after the breakup she's wearing it for someone else. sorry buddy but you can't get anything back from that. if that was the case, I'm sure every man could get back everything he spend on a past relationship.

sikbeta1447d ago

@mafiahajeri

Lambert was making ads for Bridgestone long ago, this suit is going because Bridgestone had a WII in their ad with Lambert, but Sony doesn't own Lambert's face.

matgrowcott1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

@cl1983

Exactly. Sony are saying that Nintendo (through Bridgestone) are using the goodwill and publicity of the Kevin Butler character to advertise a rival product. It doesn't matter if the contract is up, that's just not on legally.

It has nothing to do with Lambert's likeness per se, but to do with what that likeness currently means. If you want proof that people think of him as Kevin Butler, you only need to see the articles when the video was aired. That alone proves Sony's point.

(Note: it'd still be a trademark issue even if Sony aren't strictly using his likeness as a trademark)

@vega275

His contract has nothing to do with it and if that's the defence Lambert/Bridgestone are using - they're going down in this case. He's played an iconic character that represents a brand, and if anybody really thinks that's going to go away after three days of being out of contract, they just have no chance.

There are people that simply don't realize that Jerry Lambert is a person. He's Kevin Butler. And to see Kevin Butler advertising a Nintendo product is confusing a brand. That might not out and out hurt Sony, but it certainly undermines years of advertisement.

At best, this isn't a very bright thing for any of the involved parties to do. At worst, this was a specific move by somebody to get a bit of cheap publicity by using the Kevin Butler actor in advertising a rival product. Either way, whatever you might think of it, there's no way Sony is going to lose this. All the articles and comments saying "Kevin Butler advertising Nintendo?!" prove that the suit is valid.

@sikbeta

No, but they have the legal right to sue if they feel their money and hard work is being used to promote a rival brand, and it's fair to say that that's how it turned out (no matter what the original intentions).

@The Inevitable Disagrees

So let's say Major Nelson leaves Microsoft and starts using his website to promote Sony games. Microsoft has the right to sue, because the website came to get a following thanks to their promotion and support.

Jerry Lambert was a figurehead for the PlayStation brand, and to then advertise a Nintendo product despite people knowing him as that PlayStation figurehead was ill-advised.

dennett3161447d ago

@Matgrowcott,
The second his contract was up, he was free to work wherever he pleases. That he is recognized as Kevin Butler is no consequence, that is a character he played, he is not that character for the rest of his life.

By your logic, Hugh Laurie is now unable to act again because he's firmly recognised as Gregory House and that hurts the owners of the House brand despite him now being out of contract. It's nonsense, absolute nonsense. He is an actor, and Sony have no right to dictate where and ion what capacity he works after his contract with them has run out. If he was still currently under contract with Sony, that would be different as he'd still be bound by the terms of their agreement.

He's not. Butler is a suit and tie, not a lab coat. As for line delivery, Sony do not entirely own that, part of that IS the actor playing the role. Unless you're trying to claim that Sony can now own inflection and attitude.
His contract is up, they don't own the mans face or voice, and they cannot restrict him from working for whoever he wants.

cl19831447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

Well being my last bubble I think that this will end with bridgestone settling for both parties out of court That Jerry never works for sony again, and sony takes a pr hit.

Imalwaysright1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

Do you even listen to yourself? Jerry is not Sony's property! As soon as Jerry's contract is over he can work for whom he damn well pleases. Sony has to prove that the character he played is Kevin Butler VP of whathever in order to win the lawsuit. Good luck with that since it wasnt given an identity to the character Jerry played on the Bridgestone commercial. Sony only has rights to that fictional character but has right to decide what Jerry can or cant do in his professional life.

Im also astounded that someone disagreed with cl1983 comment "Sony could only copy right Keven Butler as a vp of sony, not Jerry Lambert natural looks." Does Jerry need to make a plastic surgery to land a new job? Really? What is this? Bizarro world?

matgrowcott1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

@denett316

See, this is what people are getting wrong. Butler wasn't just a role that Lambert played, it was a character in a series of advertisements. He was selling a brand. Comparing Lambert to Laurie in House is completely off-base. You won't ever see Rowan Atkinson advertising a debit card that isn't from Barclays using a character similar to Johnny English; you won't ever see "Monkey" advertising Sky TV or Virgin Media.

If Laurie finished his contract with L'oreal however, and then started advertising some rival brand of male product three days later, you can bet your bottom dollar that L'oreal would be fairly angry and they WOULD sue.

The fact that his contract expired isn't necessarily important (although it might be, we'll have to see what the judge says). It all comes down to whether Sony's image (via the Kevin Butler character) has been damaged by Bridgestone and Nintendo. Since that's what Sony are complaining about, the contract probably doesn't matter anyway.

I do agree with cl1983 though, in that there's little chance this will go to court. Bridgestone released an edited/reshot commercial, right? If they've done that, I imagine they've probably already made an out-of-court offer as well.

@Imalwaysright

No, Sony has prove that the character in the Bridgestone commercial could be mistaken for Kevin Butler. It could, it was. Take a look on comments here and on YouTube.

http://n4g.com/news/1074127...

And further to that, Sony has no problem with Lambert working. They DO have a problem with the face of Kevin Butler saying how great Nintendo is. And it just so happens to be a problem that will easily go in their favour if it goes to court.

FragMnTagM1447d ago

This is getting retarded. I don't really care that much for the guy (not funny in the slightest bit). Yet, what Sony is doing is downright foolish.

Sue the guy who did like 90% of the advertising for you this generation for appearing in another commercial that was loosely about another game console (mostly about tires), is just fucking retarded.

I hope Sony looses this case.

Sony does not own a person. If they win this lawsuit things could get really bad. First you have corporations being ruled as having the same rights as a person. Then if Sony wins this lawsuit, it sets the precedent that corporations can legally own the rights to a person? WTF has this world come to?

darthv721447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

sony will lose because they have no case. There are very fine details people are missing. He was not specifically playing the wii in the commercial nor was he really advertising for it.

The commercial is for a tire company to which he had done other ads prior to this one. It wasnt like all of a sudden bridgestone says, lets get that butler guy to be in our commercial.

he made other commercials related to tires and unrelated to sony. That is what this commercial is about as well.

What will happen if it goes to court and fails...sony will have to recoup those losses the only way they know how. from the consumers.

edit: I was wondering, besides the faithful on N4G. How well did those Butler ads do on "TV"? I hardly ever saw them but sure as hell saw lots of them on the web.

And my kids saw them too and never once exclaimed, hey dad its that sony guy doing a tire commercial. go figure, you would think it would be the younger audience that would notice such things.

Imalwaysright1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

"And further to that, Sony has no problem with Lambert working. They DO have a problem with the face of Kevin Butler saying how great Nintendo is. And it just so happens to be a problem that will easily go in their favour if it goes to court." That is NOT Kevin Butler face. That is Jerry Lambert face. You do realize that we're talking about a real person dont you? Kevin Butler is a fictional character and could be played by you, me or any other man in the World. Sony doesnt own Jerry Lambert face or acting style and its preposterous to think they do. As soon as Jerry Lambert contract was over so were his obligations to Sony and like you and me he is a free man and can live his life the way he wants to.

crxss1447d ago

if you're Bridgestone and you let the guy, who's mainly known to play Kevin Butler the PS guy, to play the Wii for our commercials you know you're just being stupid.

imagine if Mayhem or Flo were seen doing other commercials with just an extra lab coat on doing commercials against All-State or Progressive respectively.

it's just not a smart move, common sense people.

AO1JMM1447d ago

@cl1983,

You are arguing with Sony fan-boys. They all think that Jerry Lambert can only do Sony commercials as Kevin Butler.

doogiebear1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

@ cl1983:

Yeah, just like your girlfriend/wife is only your GF when she's with you. But when your not around, well, who cares right? She's not violating anything if she didn't expect you to find out about that party last night, right? Right?

pixelsword1446d ago

I blame Sony's recently fired PR department:

Use the guy more and he wouldn't have to go somewhere else to help pay his bills and live his life.

+ Show (16) more repliesLast reply 1446d ago
CalvinKlein1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

Im pretty sure that sony will loose this if they are suing on the basis that the actor cant do anything without out them being able to claim he is using the "kevin buttler" character when he is just an actor.

If sony could win this then other actors would be getting sued all the time. If daniel craig did anything with action besides james bond, and he does, then they would sue him saying he is being James bond in some other movie every time he acts in a movie besides james bond.

And he also wasnt working for sonys competitors, he was working for a tire company who was giving away a wii.

zebramocha1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

Most people seem to confuse Sony's suit,they are suing because they fell bridgestone commercial with wii is being promoted by Mr.Lambert,who most recognize as Kevin Butler,if anyone sees the edited and unedited version you would notice his inclusion isn't needed and it's a bit suspicious or a coincidence that he's used in the promotion for the wii and if this is a petty suit the people at Sony would've sued sense he was on a tv show not long ago,I assume the commercial is either cash-in on his notoriety as a direct or indirect promotion because most did not know who he was until Sony,this is not a diss on his acting abilities but he was not known until he was used to sell games.

ElitaStorm1447d ago

Bridgestone should thank Sony for the lawsuit

now millions know who and what Bridgestone is.

i did not know anything about them

Bimkoblerutso1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

....Bridgestone is probably the biggest tire company in the world.

pixelsword1446d ago (Edited 1446d ago )

@ Bimkobelrusto:

That might be true, but in some areas all you hear is about different tires.

In Detroit/Grand Rapids Michigan, All you hear about is Michelin tires and Goodyear (due to sports ads), next with Sears as far as tires. Bridgestone is known, but if someone merely says "Bridgestone" out of the blue, I don't think anyone would be thinking about tires.

Tempe/Phoenix Arizona, maybe;

In Chicago, Illinois everyone's probably still talking about Davins; I don't think tires are favored there except that whitewalls may be out of season (clashes with Davins).

jc485731447d ago

honestly, I really can't tell the difference. Sometimes I figure that's just the way he has always been even before Kevin Butler.

KUV19771447d ago

"The contract between Sony and Wild Creek, Lambert's company, was entered into on 7th August 2009 and contained an exclusivity clause that prevented Lambert from working for PlayStation competitors, such as Nintendo. The contract expired at the end of August 2012. The Bridgestone ads appeared on TV three days later. Sony said Lambert started work for Bridgestone in February 2012 while still under contract with SCEA, and so Sony claims a breach."

Not sure what to think of it.

cl19831447d ago

But Jerry didn't work for Nintendo he worked for bridgestone, so again need to actually read the contract or at a least a 3rd party lawyer to read it.

KUV19771447d ago

I'm pretty sure the contract is formulated in a way that it was not allowed for him to promote other consoles. In that case I think SONY is absolutely right to sue. But on the other hand the contract ended before the new spot aired and so I think it's fine for the guy to do whatever he pleases.
What makes me a little unsure is that the spot was produced while the contract was still in effect. I think it's a little stupid from both sides. Jerry Lambert shouldn't have produced the spot but also SONY shouldn't have sued since the airtime was fine and if the spot was produced in the 2 days before everything would have been fine.

Imalwaysright1447d ago

If thats the case Sony has to sue Jerry Lambert, the person that breached the contract. Why is Sony suing Bridgestone?

ChunkyLover531447d ago

Baseless and greedy by Sony in my opinion. I guess people can start using the $ instead of an S......So sad when people think they own something like a face.

zebramocha1447d ago (Edited 1447d ago )

I guess you weren't paying attention,this is not exactly about money but of how Mr.Lambert's acting in the bridgestone commercial may confuse people who thinks he's advertising wii's.

darthv721447d ago

was he REALLY advertising the wii? Or was he simply standing to the side while someone else played?

I also dont see why sony think this will "confuse" consumers. Gamer commercials vs tire commercials. One is for younger audiences, one is for older audiences.

By some slim chance that an older audience member watches kids shows or specifically the sony butler commercials (which, made more of a boom on the web than real tv) then they will think to themself...

gosh, now im confused on who this guy really is...'scratches head' is he sony vp or tire guy #2?

ChunkyLover531447d ago

Did people actually believe he was VP of anything at Sony? Seriously, Slash isn't real, Santa Claus isn't real, Kevin Butler isn't real either.

He's an actor, if you saw him in a movie or television show and he wasn't acting like Kevin Butler, would you associate that with the Kevin Butler character?

His contract was up, he was in a tire commercial. If Sony wanted to retain his services they could have.

r211447d ago

Umm, what is Bridgestone talking bout here? Clearly he was in their ad UNTIL they digitally altered their videos recently :L

Anyways, I feel bad for Jerry Lambert/Kevin Butler, stuck in the middle of this whole mess :C

KUV19771447d ago

Bridgestone is saying that they had Jerry Lambert in their ad but not Kevin Butler.

r211447d ago

Oh, my mistake then. This whole debacle is just confusing.

Summons751447d ago

Jerry Lambert is an actor who portrayed Kevin Butler. Bridgestone did not have Kevin Butler in their comercial, they had Jerry Lambert. Just because he played Kevin Butler dose not mean he is now and forever Kevin Butler. The only place that character and name will follow him is on his resume along with all the other roles he has played. This would be like saying Christian Bale ruined The Dark Knight because he also played in Terminator Salvation, Sony is claiming they are hurting the Playstation brand because Jerry Lambert was in the bridgestone commercial. Jerry's contract was over with Sony before the commercial aired so this whole lawsuit is completely pointless and stupid.

FragMnTagM1447d ago

I agree. I hope Lambert and Bridgestone counter-sue and win. Sony is being really immature here.

Show all comments (63)
The story is too old to be commented.