Sony Settles Kevin Butler Case

Sony Settles Kevin Butler Case

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As part of the settlement, Kevin Butler actor Jerry Lambert agrees not to appear in any ads featuring PlayStation competitors for at least two years.

When Kevin Butler actor Jerry Lambert appeared in a Bridgestone tire ad holding a rival console in his mitts - even though he wasn't portraying Kevin Butler at the time - Sony became somewhat miffed. So miffed that it sued, and that suit has now settled, with Sony standing astride Lambert like something out of Frazetta.

Under the terms of the settlement, Lambert agrees not to appear in any ad or promotion featuring, or mentioning in any way, any other videogame, game system, or game company. This embargo will last for a period of two years.

While Lambert can be in the same frame as a game after the two years are up, he still has to give Sony adequate notice, and provide enough information for Sony to decide whether or not Lambert's performance violates Sony's Butler rights. This will go on for a further two years after the embargo has lifted, so Lambert's essentially in videogame limbo for the next four years altogether.

Meanwhile Bridgestone, the tire company that started it all, is still fighting it out with Sony. Good luck, Bridgestone; you may need it.

Source: MediaPost

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This is completely bizarre to me. The man got sued for doing his job(acting) and having the audacity to keep his face on while he did it. I have a feeling that the only reason that Sony got the settlement is that they were willing to make it a legal battle of attrition, which Lambert could not afford.

I can understand why this makes sense, and why him appearing in other adverts with other videogames would hurt Sonys PR. But this seems a bit harsh on him, I don#t know if he realised that he was going to get himself so tangled up when he took on Sony's job

Karloff:
This will go on for a further two years after the embargo has lifted, so Lambert's essentially in video game limbo for the next four years altogether.

So Sony's not going to let him do adds for other consoles, but their not going to use him in their own adds either?

Sony displays a classic schoolboy attitude. They're bored of playing with their toy (Lambert) but they're still petty enough that they don't want to share him with any of the other kids. Let's hope this serves as a lesson to actors to never ever become the public face of Sony.

Sony, you couldn't just leave this well enough alone.

All the bad press that could come from a butler-ish role having SOMETHING to do with another console... that's nothing like the bad press of what you've done here of SUING YOUR OWN MASCOT!! I mean Kevin Butler was the one thing, the ONE THING about Sony marketing that was really relatable and really really worked, and now you're taking your own guy to court.

Get real.

You've poisoned all the Kevin Butler ads and opened yourself up to bad press of being ridiculed for how your treat your most valuable assets... because of your paranoid litigiousness.

Context is missing here.. Who is this guy and why does Sony care?

And now I'm getting a 720 instead of the Orbis.

What the hell Sony. You don't own him. You really need a better PR if he's so vital to your PR that you can't handle him doing ads for other things.

BrotherRool:
I can understand why this makes sense, and why him appearing in other adverts with other videogames would hurt Sonys PR. But this seems a bit harsh on him, I don#t know if he realised that he was going to get himself so tangled up when he took on Sony's job

Hard to say what's up here actually given that we don't know what his contract was like.

I'm reminded of the old contreversy where the actor who was digitized to play "Johnny Cage" for Mortal Kombat (back when they used real people) not only got slammed for appearing for another fighting game, but "Cage" was removed from the then-latest coming installment of the series, despite being one of the more iconic characters.

If I had to make a guess it probably comes down to the actor being hired to act as a spokesman, even if he's doing it in-character of a public relations persona, rather than being hired specifically to play a role in a more limited context. It would be like say Shatner playing "The Negotiator" at the same time he's also acting as a pitch-man for another company and busting on Priceline. Sure, you can say it's an actor playing a differant character, but the whole success was based on them having William Shatner in their commercials as much, or more so, than the character he was playing. If someone else had played "The Negotiator" it never would have become as successful or ironic.

At the end of the day, Jerry Lambert should have known better, and from the way this went down I'd imagine Sony is in the rights of the contract they set up with him.

Sony might have won the legal battle but it sure as hell lost the PR campaign... which is ironic as the entire affair was over advertisement.

Sounds like shooting yourself in the face to prove to someone who called you ugly that your gun works.

Scars Unseen:
This is completely bizarre to me. The man got sued for doing his job(acting) and having the audacity to keep his face on while he did it. I have a feeling that the only reason that Sony got the settlement is that they were willing to make it a legal battle of attrition, which Lambert could not afford.

The system works.

Legal attrition is the best arsenal of the rich and powerful, going through endless red-tape bleeding you dry through the legal process, of course the lawyers win, all this time they are being paid $50-100 an hour not to mention a laundry list of additional fees and court fees. The legal system won't change it, everyone in the system gets filthy rich and corporations are happy to go through with it blowing vast amounts of money to get their personal way with things.

There is too much money in the system... it inevitably leads to corruption that serves the super rich and dispossesses everyone else.

Fuck, it's times like this I wished I had nothing to do with Sony. But it's one thing to boycott a single small business, but when Sony is everywhere, you're worse off for even trying to avoid them and you're no different from the fanboys. Too big to fail, too big to boycott.

That sucks for him. Sony is a bunch of dicks, truthfully. I remember him but I never remember his ads. He is a great faux spokesman, your ads are abysmal and unremarkable, Sony.

Jesus Christ, Sony, way to come across as Scientology!

"You'd better not leave us, or you'll be sorry... Really, really sorry!"

I pity the advertizing agency they hired for the PS4.

Good luck finding someone to take on a similar role any time in the future Sony. This'll linger.

You are free to work, as long as you don't upset anyone who can send an army of lawyers at you. Then your career will be crippled.

I don't know the details of the arrangement between him and the company, but it seems to me Sony is willing to do this over a relatively pointless issue just because they can.

Intimidation must be maintained.

Sony will find someone else to work for them. They pay handsomely I'm sure, and all this does is serve as a warning to ask Sony first if you want to do another ad with someone else, especially if that someone is a rival to Sony.

This does not at all turn me off buying Sony products in the future, and I don't think they acted out of order. Butler could have avoided this if he had common sense.

Therumancer:

Hard to say what's up here actually given that we don't know what his contract was like.

I'm reminded of the old contreversy where the actor who was digitized to play "Johnny Cage" for Mortal Kombat (back when they used real people) not only got slammed for appearing for another fighting game, but "Cage" was removed from the then-latest coming installment of the series, despite being one of the more iconic characters.

If I had to make a guess it probably comes down to the actor being hired to act as a spokesman, even if he's doing it in-character of a public relations persona, rather than being hired specifically to play a role in a more limited context. It would be like say Shatner playing "The Negotiator" at the same time he's also acting as a pitch-man for another company and busting on Priceline. Sure, you can say it's an actor playing a differant character, but the whole success was based on them having William Shatner in their commercials as much, or more so, than the character he was playing. If someone else had played "The Negotiator" it never would have become as successful or ironic.

At the end of the day, Jerry Lambert should have known better, and from the way this went down I'd imagine Sony is in the rights of the contract they set up with him.

It would be one thing if he was doing an ad for, say, Nintendo or Microsoft directly. But the ad in question had him as a background character playing a Wii. It wasn't an ad for the Wii directly, it was an ad for tires. Now you could easily argue that this is still an indirect way of advertising for the competitor. But I doubt the majority of the public not interested in video games really know who the actor is. Nor do I think many would even recognize him unless he was a focus point of the ad. So that reasoning seems a bit heavy handed to me.

The fact the agreement gets rid of his ability to take part in any ad even featuring another game company's game for two years. That means he'd have to jump through additional hoops just to make sure that the ad he's in doesn't even have a screen playing a non-Sony game, even if he isn't shown playing it or even near it. At least that's what the article seems to put it. That's something that's going to limit jobs he can preform and this will likely hurt his career quite a bit if Bridgestone loses their side of the battle. And even after the two years are up, he'll have two more years of having to wait to see if Sony will approve him being in those ads, still giving them full veto power. That's a pretty big deal.

Of course we don't know the full situation either. The full details of the settlement could include some kind of compensation to him. The original contract could have said something about situations like this happening as well. Or we could have all the information we need to make a suitable view on the situation. I'm simply going by the information present, which points to Sony losing the PR battle even further by insisting on keeping their 'IP.' Even though in this case that IP is a person.

Scars Unseen:
This is completely bizarre to me. The man got sued for doing his job(acting) and having the audacity to keep his face on while he did it. I have a feeling that the only reason that Sony got the settlement is that they were willing to make it a legal battle of attrition, which Lambert could not afford.

Isn't that how most major businesses do things?

See, now all I can imagine is Microsoft suing that old lady from the shooting commercials for appearing in a trailer for Cornflakes where she plays God of War in the background. It'd be cynically hilarious...

This is utterly childish from Sony. Unless he already signed an exclusivity agreement and they paid him more than enough for that (and there's the catch, ussually they want exclusivity for free) Sony's just in the wrong, and the court should've ruled the actor's need to sustain himself weighs heavier than some company's childish ravings.

Man, I'd hate to see what Sony would do to an employee who was caught in the Nintendo section of a GameStop. Seriously, this is ridiculous. Was he actually mocking Sony in the ad, or was he just using a Wii? I don't really see how the latter would actually hurt Sony's PR or "confuse" anyone.

Justice once again lost out to money. What a damn shame. ANON, WE HAVE A JOB FOR YOU.

Seriously the guy was the best PR sony had and they blew it. Funny guy, amusing character and carefully used. Simply put they ballsed it up again.

Kirov Reporting:
Context is missing here.. Who is this guy and why does Sony care?

The article links to the previous news story the Escapist ran when this started.

The short version is that the actor appeared in some Sony ads player a character. Later he was in a Bridgestone Tires ad where they were running a promotion where customers could win a Wii. Sony accused him of using the persona of their trademarked character to promote a rival system.

You can watch the ad here and judge for yourself. Personally I'd say Sony's going to get more bad PR from this than any damages to their brand they think have resulted from this.

Karloff:
While Lambert can be in the same frame as a game after the two years are up, he still has to give Sony adequate notice, and provide enough information for Sony to decide whether or not Lambert's performance violates Sony's Butler rights.

Holy hell, did Lambert appear in an ad with a Playstation or did he molest one?

This makes me really angry, not just because it's totally unfair to edit: Lambert (thanks, Roander!), but because I feel like Sony is personally insulting me and every other customer or potential customer. Do they honestly think we're too stupid to tell the difference between some guy in a Bridgestone labcoat and Kevin Butler? I don't think ANYBODY was confused by this.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:
This makes me really angry, not just because it's totally unfair to Butler

Unfair to Lambert. Butler is the fictional character Sony owns. Lambert is the non-fictional actor whom Sony only owns for the next four years.

 

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