‘AMD me’ Unleashed

In a world full of computers where “Intel Inside” is the norm, Advanced Micro Devices AMD has had the monumental task of converting the general public to its chips.

So, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker Monday launched “Challenge me. Surprise me. Free me. AMD me.” The company calls it the “largest global, integrated branding and advertising campaign” in its 33-year history.

Starting in North America, “AMD me”-themed ads will be directed at both business and home markets. The campaign will then move across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa beginning September 23rd and is currently scheduled to run in major media through the end of 2003.

The “AMD me” ads will center on AMD’s upcoming 64-bit AMD Athlon and AMD Opteron processors, based on Clawhammer (aka Hammer) technology. The message is that AMD chips can run both 32- and 64-bit applications as computing goes through its transition from 32- to 64-bit architectures, yet still maintain the older infrastructure.

“The ‘AMD me’ campaign is an excellent expression of our commitment as a business to build deep relationships with customers, and address the real-world needs of the global marketplace,” said AMD executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer Rob Herb.

The minds behind the campaign come from McCann-Erickson, a top-notch San Francisco ad agency responsible for those award-winning flying Microsoft XP ads and Supercuts commercials.

“The campaign is expected to generate over 285 million impressions worldwide,” said Michael McLaren, executive vice president and director, client services at McCann-Erickson. “We anticipate a grass roots-effect that will positively impact AMD’s business and drive demand for the company’s already highly-anticipated 64-bit product line.”

On problem with advertising the Hammer chips at this point is that production on the Hammer-based chips has been delayed from its original release date of this fall to possibly as late as the summer of 2003.

When it does debut, Hammer-enhanced chips will include the AMD-8111 HyperTransport I/O hub, the AMD-8131 HyperTransport PCI-X tunnel, and the AMD-8151 HyperTransport AGP3.0 graphics tunnel. HyperTransport technology helps reduce system bottlenecks, boost efficiency and increase system throughput by reducing the number of buses.

Still, the company asserts that it can take chinks out of rival Intel’s armor, which controls around 80 percent of market share. AMD will also find stiff competition from Sun Microsystems , which has large investments in 32- and 64-bit processor, albeit Sun’s direction seems aimed more at the business user than the home user.

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