It started off so well. In 2009, Sony and Jerry Lambert were having a whale of a time, making funny ads, angering the Nigerian government and perfecting the VP of Awesome that is Kevin Butler.
From there, KB grew in popularity, gaining over a hundred thousand Twitter followers, YouTube videos with millions of views and even taking to the E3 stage. He became an integral part of their community interactions.
Sadly, it was then deemed that his usefulness had run its course – those that liked his personality had become PlayStation fans already, so there was no point continuing the expensive ad campaigns. Actor Jerry Lambert then moved on to do adverts for tire company Bridgestone, and, while fans of Kevin Butler missed him, no real fuss was made.
Then, Lambert appeared in a Bridgestone advert playing on the Wii. People laughed, joking that Kevin Butler was always a secret Nintendo fanboy, and other light-hearted jibes. Sony, however, was not amused, and sued both Lambert’s company Wildcat Creek and Bridgestone last October. Now, as first published by MediaPost, Lambert has finally settled out of court, acknowledging “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.”
Lambert has now agreed to not appear in any ad or promotion that features or even mentions “any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company” for two years, and will seek permission if he wants to appear in such ads the two years after that.
Meanwhile, Sony is still pursuing its case against Bridgestone, who previously denied wrongdoing.
What do you think about the whole miserable saga? Was Sony in the right to sue Jerry Lambert? Or has the whole thing been way worse publicity than the offending ad ever was? Share your thoughts in the comments below.