Ad Agency BBH Moves Into Social Gaming, Seeks Developers Who Like Lollipops

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Bartle Bogle Hegarty today became the latest company to make the leap into social gaming, and it is on the lookout to give seed funding to social gaming developers who want to make the jump with them.

The ad agency’s Singapore-based Asian division, BBH Asia Pacific, has opened a new venture, Chuck Studios, which will be run in partnership with one of its longtime clients, the confectionery giant Perfetti Van Melle — makers of Chupa Chups lollipops. Together, the two will invest in social games promoting the brand, in exchange for a share of whatever revenue is made from the content.

The first product of the venture, Chupa Chucker, made in partnership with studio Atommica, goes live today on Facebook. Future games will also run on iOS, Android, and HTML5, BBH tells us, and may extend to other brands, too.

The news of BBH’s move into gaming was first reported last week by AdAge, although BBH has clarified to us that this venture will not cover investments into more capital-intensive areas like video games.

Rather, it is, at least for now, only limited to the smaller, more casual social games that have spread like wildfire through social networks like Facebook and have lifted the fortunes of companies like Zynga many times over.

It is nothing new for agencies to enlist the help of games developers to create engaging marketing content to promote a brand. But what is perhaps more interesting about this launch is that it puts BBH and Perfetti Van Melle into a potential partnership to actually generate revenues from these games — rather than simply throwing money into making games as part of marketing spend.

Atommica, in addition to developing games, also has created its own “cross-promotion and monetization platform” for social games — presumably this is incorporated into the game, and will help drive that revenue generation.

In addition to giving the developers access to the brands’ IP, BBH says it will also assist in helping to market the games once they’re published.

Product director Pieter Walraven tells us that BBH is not disclosing how much it will typically invest in each game, and in any case it will vary, depending on the work involved. “Deeper games that monetize better often require more capacity to develop which requires a higher upfront investment to lower the risk for the partnering developer and show our commitment,” he says.

He says before a partnership gets the okay, BBH models out the estimated installs on a particular platform and figures out the ARPU per game. “The only requirement is that the numbers have to check out.”

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