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Sony Sues Kevin Butler for Having Fun with the Wii on TV

“If Sony can’t have Kevin Butler, no one can!” That was the sentiment (I assume) in a board room somewhere at Sony headquarters when company executives realized that ex-spokesman Jerry Lambert, the man you probably know as fake PlayStation executive Kevin Butler, was caught red-handed playing another console in a commercial on national TV. Hurt and mentally traumatized, Sony is suing Lambert and Bridgestone Tires over an ad where the man formerly known as Butler is shown playing the Nintendo Wii.

Spokespeople acting as the “face” of a brand are often required, as part of their contract, not to appear in anything that could potentially promote a competing brand. Clauses like these often have half-life protecting the brand even after the company has moved on to a new ad campaign. It seems like a weird, almost cruel, assertion of legal power but, honestly, it is a little weird to see Lambert talking about the Wii. That weirdness is exactly what Sony why paid Butler not to appear in other video game ads.

Shortly after airing in early September, Bridgestone swapped in an edited version of the commercial, removing every shot with Lambert’s face and voice… As it turns out, they did so because Sony filed their lawsuit against them. Sony is also suing a company called Wildcat Creek, which is most likely the corporate name for Lambert’s personal business. Why are people playing video games in a tire commercial, you ask? Bridgestone has a promotion where, if you buy a set of tires, you get entered in a prize drawing for a Wii, among other things.

None of the parties have revealed details of the pending suit, like the figure Sony is requesting from Lambert or Bridgestone, or what specific triggered the infringement. The parties are already in the process of negotiating a settlement, but at the moment the case is on track for an initial hearing on October 12th.

(NeoGAF via Kotaku, image credit: Playstation Blog)

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