Let me start by saying this, Kevin Butler – the once and former VP of everything at Sony – was the greatest gaming ad campaign of all time.
Played by Jerry Lambert, who has done ad work for GEICO, Holiday Inn, Bridgestone, and Boston Pizza, the Kevin Butler personality was created by advertising agency Deutsch Inc. for Sony back in 2009 to be the face of their “It Only Does Everything” campaign. After the insane success Sony saw with the Butler ads, they kept him on through 2011 to be the face of their company, my favorite of which came at E3 2010, when Butler himself kicked off Sony’s press conference.
Kevin Butler had grown men shedding tears in their seats at E3 2010, all while simultaneously pre-ordering PlayStation Move bundles at the same damn time. Hell, Kevin Butler sold me on a PS3 too. I bought that bad boy as soon as I saw him announce the $299 price drop. It was brilliant, it was hilarious, and Sony raked in the cash as a result. Of course, for some reason, all good things must come to an end – and Kevin Butler hung up the rolled-up sensible light-blue oxford in 2011 as Sony moved on to other, predictably less interesting campaigns. Kevin Butler appeared at E3, GameStop Managers’ Conferences, on commercials, on marketing, the guy was everywhere. And for a moment – a fleeting, glorious moment, he was real, and he was human, and he was amazing. Kevin Butler was the most interesting man in the (gaming) world, and hell – if I was Jerry Lambert – I woulda hung onto that alter ego by the skin of my teeth if I had to.
Gamers loved him. He talked trash to other execs, appeared in hilarious commercials, and pushed product like no other. The closest we’ll come to a gaming personality as charismatic and lovable as Kevin Butler is Nintendo’s Reggise Fils-Aime, of course – but Reggie is Reggie, and as much as I love Nintendo – Reggie ain’t no Kevin Butler. Nobody ever will be. If I’m sitting in the Sony boardroom, I’m flipping to Jerry Lambert’s contact page every once in a while. Just wondering… “What’s Jerry up to? You think he’d wanna grab coffee sometime? Maybe talk about the industry again like old times? I wonder if he’d wanna hear us out on what our new advertising plans are… Hm… If only… Nah, that’s ridiculous, don’t be silly… He wouldn’t wanna come back… Would he? Could he?” And then he snaps out of it, and nods his head in silence to affirm some other lame ad campaign that’s being presented. I bet the exec has to keep Jerry Lambert’s contact in his phone as “Pizza Hut” just so the guy next to him can’t see who he’s really texting. I get you, Sony guy. I miss him too.
What was your favorite gaming ad of all time? Shout at us on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames. Until then… Kevin Butler’s still real to me, dammit.