AMD Fusion ads focus on graphics, user experience | Reuters

By David Lawsky


SAN FRANCISCO Forget about specs. PC chip maker Advanced Micro Devices AMD.N is rebranding itself by showing leaves, scorpions and a teenager playing the guitar.

Instead of geeky specifications, or specs, AMD executives said, its new advertising campaign opening on Thursday focuses additional reading on how its computer chips can offer consumers an improved "user experience" in contrast with rival Intel Corp (INTC.O), especially when its comes to handling graphics.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company is a look at this website distant second to Intel in the market for microprocessors that act as the heart of the world's 1 billion personal computers.

The new ads emphasize AMD's expertise in computer chip design and how that prowess has been enhanced and integrated into its products through the 2006 acquisition of graphics chip maker ATI. To hammer home this idea, "Fusion" is the catchword that appears in a white, patterned circle of every ad.

"The idea behind fusion is to take technologies and bring them together," Nigel Dessau, AMD's chief marketing officer. The campaign focuses on how the chips are used. They show a teenager using Rain Recording software, a leaf symbolizing carbon reduction with help from IBM (IBM.N) and a scorpion image from game developer OTOY.

The Fusion campaign replaces a two-year-old "smarter choice" tagline, which was the last time AMD used ads to make a big splash, and come ahead of the big-selling holiday season.

As part of the campaign, free software will be available from AMD's website that it promises will speed up Microsoft's Vista operating system for people who play computer games.

"It polishes their brand," said Roger Kay, a PC industry analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates in Wayland, Massachusetts.

The ads are against a background of troubled times for AMD. Chief Executive Dirk Meyer told Fortune Magazine this month the company will sell its manufacturing plants, known as "fabs," and let others make its central processing unit (CPU) chips.

"We're going to go away from a captive fab model to more of a fabless model for the CPU part of the business," Meyer was quoted as saying.

AMD is borrowing a page from Intel's (INTC.O) long-time strategy of advertising its products not just as chips, or collections of chips, but as "platforms" that become the basis of marketing campaigns. The strategy has included Pentium, Celeron and Centrino.

(Editing by Gary Hill)