Agencies Slow to Adopt Facebook Timeline

Leo Burnett's Timeline Begins In 1935 With a Memo And a Logo

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In the week since Facebook's timelines went live, many marketers have been quick to jump on the new platform, such as Coca-Cola, Subway, Starbucks and Old Spice.

But agencies? Not so much.

Leo Burnett
Leo Burnett

While many are counseling clients on Facebook strategy, few have taken their own advice and created timelines for themselves. It's surprising, as the "about us" section is a standard feature of agency websites, and a good many have long and interesting histories to share.

Indeed, most of the biggest, most-storied agencies likeBBDO , Ogilvy, McCann Worldgroup, CP&B and McGarryBowen, among many others, have yet to make the switch.

One exception: Leo Burnett went live with a rich timeline sharing the agency's history as well as characters and tag lines of note.

Even more surprising is that many digital agencies you'd expect to be on the bleeding edge -- Publicis Groupe 's Digitas , Profero, Interpublic's R/GA, 360i , AKQA -- have not moved over to timeline.

"Honestly, we are focused on getting our clients up to speed with their timelines," said Beth McCabe, VP and director-social marketing and technology at Digitas. "For a brand, it is definitely something that requires a lot of consideration." Digitas will most likely do it "in the next couple of weeks," she added.

Well, who has a timeline, then? Agencies such as Interpublic's Huge and Publicis Groupe 's Razorfish have, as well as MDC's 72andSunny.

Interpublic Group of Cos. is the first holding company to make the switch. "We like the way timeline incorporates images and videos onto the page," said spokesman Tom Cunningham in an email to Ad Age . "For Interpublic, our website focuses on operational functionality with tools like our 'company finder' and earnings webcasts. IPG on Facebook is more culturally focused, and timeline helps on that front."

As Fortune magazine notes this week, timeline emerged from an informal hackathon in which engineers were challenged to dream up new products for Facebook. As brands are figuring out, timeline has turned a social service into a powerful storytelling medium.

Here are some excerpts from Leo Burnett's timeline, which begins Aug. 5, 1935, in Chicago, with a memo: "The plasterers have left, the rugs are down and the door is open." Its trademark, a hand reaching for the stars, is created that December.

  • 1951: Tony the Tiger is created for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. The entry includes vintage images of the icon, which is still around today.
  • 1972: Burnett debuts the "Leggo my Eggo" campaign for Kellogg's Eggo waffles.
  • 1999: Leo Burnett launches Lapiz , the network's Hispanic agency.
  • 2004: Arc North America is formed to bring together Frankel, iLeo North America and Semaphore Partners as a single marketing-services agency.

Has your agency made the switch to timeline? If so, paste a link in the comments below. If you haven't, feel free to tell us why.

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