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School Of Communications

BYU AdLab Recognized Internationally for its Exemplary Students and Faculty

BYU AdLab and its Co-Founder, Jeff Sheets, are Recognized for Hardwork and Success in 2023-24 Awards Season

Since it was established in 2003, the BYU AdLab has created an environment that helps advertising students discover success. In recent years, students and faculty have worked hard to earn numerous Student Emmys, ADDYs, Clios and other awards.

The 2023–24 academic year was no different. Two students were selected as American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) most promising multicultural students, advertising students took first place in the Coca-Cola Refreshing Films Contest and the AdLab swept the category for best commercial at the 2024 Student Emmys.

As a result of yet another successful year for the AdLab, both the AdLab and advertising professor Jeff Sheets have been recognized as the top of their field.

Young Ones School of the Year - The One Club

Advertising Faculty and Students at the 2024 Young Ones Student Awards
Photo by Jenna Bascom Photography

The Young Ones School of the Year contest is an international, point-based award that takes into consideration the achievements and awards earned by students and schools from over 31 countries. This year, the BYU AdLab earned the title for the second time since 2021.

“This award is a big deal,” said Sheets. “In the entertainment industry you have the Oscars, the Grammys and the Emmys; and in Advertising you have the One Show and the One Club for Creativity has its own awards and these are reserved for the best of the best and only those that meet a certain level of excellence. So, when you see our small advertising program competing for this title against a long list of elite art and design schools and we win, you know it is something special.”

According to Sheets, the thing that makes the AdLab so successful is the students and their faith. What I love about working in the AdLab is that we start with the best students,” said Sheets. “BYU students are amazing. They have capability, talent, drive, vision and creativity. What makes them unique is the values that they hold and the light that comes from within them.”

“I think the AdLab is so successful because of the culture here at BYU,” said advertising student Lily McKay. “The professors see something in us and care about us. They know our ambitions and our favorite fonts and our campaigns. We as students are showered with mentorship and confidence, and it changes the entire feel of the program. Due to this respect, the students can take big risks and really exercise creativity because we know the professors will be catalysts to our success.”

“Coming to BYU and learning to be creative and harness that uniqueness makes a big difference as the students enter the professional world,” said Sheets. “If you lean all the way into who you are and what BYU stands for, it makes you unique and special. It will not only set you apart from the world, it sets you up for success.”

Distinguished Advertising Educator of the Year - AAF

Jeff Sheets, Distinguished Advertising Educator of the Year
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Sheets

Jeff Sheets began working for BYU as an adjunct faculty member in 2003. That same year, Sheets and former advertising professor Doug McKinlay created the AdLab, an advertising lab designed to give students the experience of working in a professional advertising agency.

Sheets was the first Director of the AdLab and later in 2016, he replaced McKinlay on the advertising faculty as the professional faculty to oversee the Creative Track. This year, Sheets was recognized for his work as an advertising professor by being named the Distinguished Advertising Educator of the Year by the American Advertising Federation (AAF).

McKay shared her gratitude for Sheets as her professor. “Professor Sheets knows what we as students are capable of, and he’s not afraid to push us to see our worth,” said McKay. “He has pushed me from day one to see the potential in my work and to never let an opportunity go to waste. He challenges us often—that’s what makes him a great professor. He has built me up, he has transformed my work to become better, and most importantly, he has celebrated my successes.”

Sheets expressed that a great educator comes from great students. “When I received the news about the award, I shared it as a moment of gratitude to my students,” said Sheets. “They are the reason all this has happened, they are the reason I became a professor, they are the reason that I am the educator I am today and the reason I am good at it. It has been a lot of work and a lot of energy, and it doesn't happen overnight. As an educator you can’t just show up and expect magic to happen, you have to really care and try your best to inspire students’ minds and when you do that, and focus on enabling other people, it is even more rewarding.”