32 Advertisers Doing Amazing Things With Facebook's Timeline

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This is the third of a six-part series called “The Social Wave.” This series examines how social media is changing the advertising landscape. “The Social Wave” is sponsored by ShareThis.

cara delevingne for burberry timepieces beauty ads designscene net 1379541305Burberry is a master of the Facebook Timeline.

Photo: Burberry

Facebook’s Timeline feature — which arranges your entire history of photo uploads and status updates into a scrollable continuum  —has been around for more than a year now.It offers advertisers a big, bright palette onto which they can pour the most creative imagery they’ve got. We highlighted those companies who were best at it last year.

When Facebook rolls out its new News Feed redesign, many of these photos and videos are going to appear even bigger. A brand’s Timeline cover photo will become even more prominent in others’ News Feeds.

Here are our top picks, from the world’s biggest advertiser — Procter & Gamble — to niche labels such as J Brand.

SEPHORA uses any opportunity to talk about colour. This image was part of its runup to St. Patrick's Day. colour and imagery are what counts in Timeline — more than video, frankly.

MICHAEL KORS: Simply exquisite. This is part of a Michelle Obama shoot for Vogue featured on MK's Timeline.

NIKE's page is the very model of a good Facebook Timeline. Huge pictures. Relevant product information. Lots of wide-screen embedded video, too. Most companies haven't explored video on Facebook, yet.

M&M's page is full of visual jokes you won't see in its regular marketing, like this 'nude' portrait of the characters.

L'OREAL like a lot of beauty brands, has a fantastic mix of beautiful imagery, promotion and advice.

ELECTRONIC ARTS is another company with a lot of attractive product-related content to show. Timeline discriminates in favour of companies that develop a lot of imagery.

CITI's page offers a lot of advice. There's also a nice balanced mix of news, inspirational stuff, and promotion.

COCA-COLA is another one of those brands, like Budweiser, that does a good job of mixing photos, stories, quizzes and user-content on a constantly changing basis.

FORD has figured out that if you like cars, you'll love photos of vintage cars. The company has turned its archive into a trivia game.

McDONALD'S has learned the lesson of borrowed interest — set up a McCafe in Park City during the Sundance festival, photograph the stars when they drop in, and use the content to populate your Facebook Timeline.

BURBERRY has a massive Facebook following in part because it has figured out that big, beautiful images are the key. This is from a shoot with model Cara Delevingne, who is famous for her dramatic eyebrows.

J.C. PENNEY's Timeline is far trendier than its reputation. It's almost aspirational ... the jury is still out on whether this is what JCP's customers actually want, however.

ALLSTATE: Last year, we complained that AllState had not included its marvellous Mayhem character in its Timeline. This year, he has his own page and you can be his friend.

GEICO has leaned heavily on jokes about the Geico gecko — this one is a reference to its Puppy Bowl sponsorship — and, mostly, it works.

SAMSUNG sponsored a show by The Roots and Band of Horses at SXSW. Its Timeline has a lot of original photography and product-relevant news. (Oddly, it was late to update its page with new imagery of the Galaxy S4.)

KOOLAID: Last year we said that Koolaid's Timeline wasn't taking advantage of the possibilities of the medium. A year later, it's an example of how to get it right. It uses lots of insider jokes that only its fans will get.

BMW: Simple, but good for gearheads, a source tells us — and we agree. Lots of auto pr0n to look at on this page.

J BRAND: Timeline encourages a clutter of imagery, but J Brand's version is beautifully clean. Every single image on the J Brand page is almost painfully thoughtful.

FAB.COM, like eBay, has a never-ending supply of fresh product imagery to riff on.

MICROSOFT and Facebook are business partners, of course, but it's still surprising how cool Microsoft's Facebook page is. This is an ad for the new edition of Tomb Raider on Xbox. Microsoft gets bashed a lot in the media for being uncool but its Facebook Timeline is textbook perfect.

GOOGLE is on Facebook just like everyone else. It posts sparingly, only one update every couple of days on average. But the updates are focused and interesting, like this video of the artists who create the Google doodles.

GROUPON is another high-content marketer-as-publisher. Its page is as entertaining as its offers.

AT&T has a lot of different types of content, such as this original photography (below) to product promotions and stuff about its American Idol sponsorship. Variety is key.

EBAY has an endless treasure trove of shopping imagery to tout on its Timeline, and it does so with verve.

KLM: Has a lot of great photography on its timeline but note (below) that a it's still using that same profile/cover photo gag (albeit with a slightly different image) from last year.

FANTA: This Coke brand uses lots of visual jokes about oranges, plus original imagery.

SHARPIE is an inherently visual product and it's doing everything right on Timeline. Check out these Sharpie-decorated ceiling fan blades.

AMAZON's page uses a lot of wit to sell much more than just books and music. This was part of a photo gallery of people wearing horse-head masks.

Now see who is spending the real money ...

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