SINGAPORE: However appealing creativity may be for advertisers, truly effective campaigns generally show three key criteria, two leading marketing academics have argued.

Ang Swee Hoon and Lee Yih Hwai, associate professors of marketing at the National University of Singapore Business School, said that the makings of an effective, creative ad requires a campaign that is novel, meaningful and connected.

Writing for Marketing Interactive, they identified the latest series of ads for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Singapore as a good example of creative advertising.

The ads, for the Breast Cancer Foundation and created by DDB Singapore, cleverly redesigned the logos of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to convey a message to women that they spend more time on social media than they do examining themselves for signs of the disease.

Tweaks made to the familiar logos create a "puzzle" that motivates people to take a closer look and then realise that the spoof shows a hand cupping a breast, they said.

Coupled with the tagline "If only you checked your breasts as often", the tongue-in-cheek message is made comprehensible and, just as importantly, it also makes viewers feel good about themselves for solving the puzzle.

This is a good example of an ad that uses novelty to capture attention and generate interest towards the ad, Ang and Lee suggested.

The second criterion – being meaningful – requires ads to convey a message in a logical manner, they said.

In the case of the breast cancer awareness campaign, digitally savvy women would realise that they have been spending too little time on something important while spending far more time on social media.

"The message would have lost its resonance if it had not been meaningfully associated with relevant logos, or if the campaign had used unfamiliar icons," they said.

Finally, the third crucial element is connectedness, or people's identification with an issue, and the campaign fits this requirement because it deals with a life and death issue.

"In a nutshell, creativity for the sake of creativity is to be avoided," Ang and Lee concluded. "Brands and companies should hold their ad agencies accountable for delivering creative that optimise the share of the consumer eyeball, mind, heart and purse."

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Adweek; additional content by Warc staff