Sony Computer Entertainment America has filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone Tires and advertising firm Wildcat Creek, claiming “breach of contract” over a Bridgestone Tires commercial that shows Jerry Lambert (the owner of Wildcat Creek, and the actor who played Sony’s faux-executive Kevin Butler) playing a Wii.
The original ad (which has since been pulled but can still be seen on MetaTube) is for Bridgestone’s “GameOn” promotion that gives customers a choice between a $70 American Express gift card or a Nintendo Wii. Lambert plays a Bridgestone employee who is “testing” Mario Kart Wii for the promotion.
Sony confirmed the lawsuit to GamesBeat, saying:
“Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he’s become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony’s intellectual property, creates confusion in the market, and causes damage to Sony.”
Sony has not used the Kevin Butler character in their PlayStation ads since the “Long Live Play” campaign that ended in late 2011.
We will report more details on the lawsuit as the story develops.