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Sean Phillips

Tires, Wiis... Whatever

By October 22, 2012

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Photo © Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

In other Bridgestone-related news, the tire company is now being sued by Sony for the stupidest reason I can possibly imagine.

Sony's "It Only Does Everything" PS3 ad campaign features an actor named Jerry Lambert playing a fictional Sony employee named "Kevin Butler" who answers supposed gamer questions about the console. It's a pretty awesome set of ads, largely due to Lambert's bang-on deadpan delivery of ridiculous lines. So far, so good.

Photo © Sony, Inc.

But then Bridgestone had to go and make themselves some commercials too, and one of their commercials has Jerry Lambert in a bit role as a tire engineer. Unfortunately, the commercial is for Bridgestone's promotion, "Buy Four Tires, Receive A Wii" which has caused Sony to temporarily lose its mind. Sony is now suing Bridgestone and Lambert for doing a commercial that "depicts a Bridgestone employee who consumers reasonably perceive to be 'Kevin Butler' promoting the Nintendo Wii, a product that competes directly with SCEA's PlayStation products."

According to the lawsuit, "With the intent of unfairly capitalizing on the consumer goodwill generated by 'Kevin Butler,' Bridgestone has used and is using the same or confusingly similar character, played by the same actor, to advertise its products or services in the commercial."

Okay, just a few problems with that.

One: HE'S AN ACTOR. I would think that even Sony could figure out that actors play different roles in different commercials.

Two: According to Bridgestone, Lambert doesn't even speak in the commercial, he just mugs for the camera. "Mr. Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer. Bridgestone denies that 'Kevin Butler' appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial." I would love to show you that, but Bridgestone has now digitally removed Lambert from the commercial.

Three: Bridgestone claims that Sony never trademarked the character.

Four: Although Sony had an exclusivity clause in their contract with Lambert, stating that he could not shill for competing console makers, that contract had expired three days before the Bridgestone commercial aired, and the commercial is selling tires, not Wiis.

Five: Bridgestone has another short video that never aired on TV, but that features Lambert in character as a Bridgestone tire engineer - a character which is entirely different from Kevin Butler.

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