The first game from Chuck Studios, Chupa Chucker, created by a UK and Argentina-based game developer called Atommica, has already debuted on Facebook. A second title is in development and will debut in a few months.
The Chuck Studios model aims to get around a major hurdle standing in the way of the creation of effective branded games.
"Great games are expensive to develop and maintain," John Hadfield, BBH Asia-Pacific chief executive officer, told Campaign via email. "We have found that game developers are interested in a model where they are given substantial IP and access to a fan base, with seed funding and marketing support, in return for making the entry costs more appealing. The partnership then shares the future incomes."
Gaming is a natural fit for many brands, including the Chupa Chups ethos of 'Life Less Serious', Hadfield said, but developing games is a specialised skill well beyond the capabilities of most agencies, even though they may pretend they can do it well. "Plus, beyond the development phase, the best social games need constant maintenance and optimisation," he added.
BBH expects the initiative to be profitable both financially and in terms of brand engagement. "Great, successful games will drive profitability and the key brand metrics for all," he said. "This is the aim, as it will mean that we've done a great job and will perpetuate the model."
That model could easily be transplanted to other brands, although Hadfield noted that the client would need to contribute substantial IP and have an existing fan base in order to make its brand an attractive playing field for game developers.