2013 PR People Awards: PR Professional of the Year: Corporate

Winner: Chris Hook, Director of Enthusiast and Component PR, Social Media and Product Reviews, AMD

At the beginning of 2013, Chris Hook inherited a portfolio in turmoil, a team of zero, and a mission to transform the perception of AMD from an also-ran semiconductor manufacturer into a cutting-edge brand. Persuading his superiors to triple his budget, he recruited a team of nine employees that included former semiconductor journalists and engineers as well as PR and marketing pros. The team speaks eight languages and has a collective 45 years in the semiconductor business. Their Surround Computing campaign placed AMD at the center of the “Internet of things” discussion two weeks before top competitor Intel at a key industry gathering.

Other efforts included AMD Technograffiti, which demonstrated novel AMD-based gadgets like a desktop PC with internal missile bays that fired model rockets or a retro gas pump turned into a jukebox, and a publicity stunt that put the world’s fastest graphics card up for sale on eBay a week before the formal product launch. The resulting bidding war caught the attention of enthusiasts and the press.

For the launch of a new graphics processor, Hook had to tame enthusiast expectations and frame the product’s strategy with the business community, accomplished through an interview in Forbes. Hook used a keynote slot at a major international technical meeting to combine AMD’s engineering expertise with consumer-like appeal, describing how a Star-Trek style “Holodeck” could someday be enabled by technologies where AMD shines.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Scott Gilmore, Director of Communication, Muller Quaker Dairy
  • Stephen McGettrick, Associate Director, U.S. Communications, EMD Serono