As corporate characters go, Sony's Kevin Butler has been a breakout star. The character has been brought out on stage during press events and even made game cameos. But part of being a fake executive means you're beholden to the Sony brand, and the company is holding the actor to that commitment with legal action.
This tale of legal happenings is a bit roundabout. Actor Jerry Lambert, who plays Kevin Butler, is the president of the advertising firm Wildcat Creek, Inc. Last February, Wildcat began promotions for Bridgestone Tires, and Lambert personally appeared in the ads. This didn't seem to make waves until just recently, when Bridgestone began a "GameOn" promotion that offers a Wii console as one of the prizes. In one ad, Lambert appears with a Wii and a copy of Mario Kart Wii.
This prompted Sony to file a lawsuit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek on September 11, claiming that it violated their intellectual property of the character Kevin Butler. Sony cited "violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract, and tortious interference with a contractual relationship" in a statement to VentureBeat. "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."
You can see a brief moment of Lambert in a Bridgestone commercial at the end of this Super Bowl spot, to judge for yourself how similar he is to the Kevin Butler character.