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AMD ads to play up 64-bit chips

The company unveils its largest advertising effort to date, a new print and online campaign with the tag line, "AMD Me." Intel, meanwhile, ditches its space aliens.

After going head-to-head on clock speeds and prices, rival chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices and Intel this week are kicking off dueling ad campaigns.

AMD on Monday unveiled its largest advertising effort to date, a new print and online campaign with the tag line, "AMD Me." Over the weekend, Intel launched new television ads that abandon its space alien characters for more down-to-earth folk, such as people using wireless networks, according to published reports.

The AMD campaign, the company?s first all-new ad effort in some time, is designed to boost the company's brand by building awareness of its technology, such as the future 64-bit Opteron and Athlon processors.

The campaigns come at a tough time for both chipmakers. AMD has been hit by slower processor unit sales during the second quarter, and just last week it pushed back the introduction of its next-generation desktop Athlon processor in favor of an improved version of its current Athlon XP chip.

Intel said that it would meet its earnings targets for the third quarter, but both companies face a holiday season that is uncertain at best, because of the slowly recovering economy and worries about war in the Middle East.

But given the conditions, some might argue that it's never been a better time to turn to advertising.

AMD will aim its campaign specifically at individuals, both consumers and corporate IT workers, who are well-versed in technology and considered experts by their peers, the company said in a statement.

"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," Rob Herb, the company's chief sales and marketing officer, said in the statement.

The campaign will tout, among other things, AMD's approach to building 64-bit processors, which can increase computing performance by boosting a computer's memory capacity over that of a 32-bit chip like an Athlon or a Pentium. Companies such as IBM, Intel and Sun Microsystems offer dedicated 64-bit chips for their high-end server gear.

To get to 64 bits, AMD is adding extensions to the 32-bit x86 architecture, the basis for both AMD and Intel PC processors. Its new X86-64 chips--Opteron for servers and a new Athlon for desktops--will be able to run 64-bit software, but can also run older 32-bit applications at full speed, AMD says.

Intel's approach to 64-bit has been to create a new processor, Itanium, specifically for servers, and to develop new software and computer systems around it.

AMD expects the ads to create a grassroots movement of support for the company that will help boost revenue and increase demand for its 64-bit chips, the company said.

The new ads are running first in The Wall Street Journal and then Business Week. AMD says it will run the campaign worldwide through the end of 2003.