Sony Out to Create New Ad Icon With Latest PS3 Spots

'Kevin Butler' Campaign Aims to Show Game Console 'Only Does Everything'

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YORK, Pa. ( -- Is Kevin Butler the new Mac guy?

Actually, Jerry Lambert, the actor who plays Kevin Butler in Sony PlayStation 3 ads breaking this weekend, smacks more of John Hodgman's frumpy PC character than Justin Long's Mac daddy. With bland, cubicled offices as his backdrop, Mr. Lambert, garbed in a Dunder Mifflin-ready shirt and tie, walks and wisecracks as he answers questions one-on-one with fictitious consumers.

The new ads from agency Deutsch, Los Angeles, are designed to elicit the same serial attraction that makes consumers anticipate fresh Mac vs. PC ads.

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"If it delivers like we think it will, like the happy California cheese cows, the Geico cavemen or Mac vs. PC ads, people will want to hear the latest news and see what this guy's going to say next," said Eric Hirshberg, president and chief creative officer at the agency.

The character of Kevin Butler is part office drone, part smart-ass customer-service rep in the new style of ads that are more feature- and benefit-driven than any previous PS3 work. Nine creative executions with Kevin Butler at their center will address the different capabilities of the now-almost-3-year-old video-game console, pointing up everything from Blu-ray-movie playing to wireless connectivity. The tagline is "It only does everything."

Peter Dille, senior VP-marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America, joked that Kevin Butler is "the Shell answer man at Sony," changing jobs and swapping out ridiculous titles in each ad.

"Humor, and especially irreverent humor, has been part of the PlayStation brand for a long time," Mr. Dille said. "The price move [to $299 last week] to us is only half of the story. ... We believe [the new ads] will work hard to reposition the PS3 for a more mass audience."

The campaign launching now allows Sony to target both back-to-school buyers and holiday buyers. It includes radio, TV and online with a much broader buy than before. TV, for instance, will include "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Heroes," aiming for adults ages 18 to 45 vs. the previous focus on men ages 18 to 35, Mr. Dille said.

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