The Distinguished Advertising Educator Award honors an educator who has been a consistent mentor to students, has supported the success of the advertising industry through research, teaching and advocacy, and has been engaged in the advancement of the mission of the AAF through activism within the organization.

Award Presentation
June 1, 2024 | The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City

Since 1987, the AAF has recognized the best advertising professors in the country through the Distinguished Advertising Educator Award. This award is intended to honor a senior individual (10 or more years of teaching experience) who has accomplished all of the criteria to the benefit of the advertising industry over the course of his/her career. This award may be given posthumously.


2024 Recipient 

Jeff Sheets

Jeff Sheets

Teaching Professor, School of Communications, Brigham Young University

Jeff Sheets is a Teaching Professor, teaching creative advertising in the BYU School of Communications. He is the coordinator of the Advertising Sequence and the co-founder of and the Faculty Director to the BYU AdLab which was named by College Magazine as the #1 Ad program in the United States and oversees the Creative Track which was named the #1 most awarded creative advertising program in the world by the One Club for Creativity. Additionally, he has mentored students’ creative ad campaigns to win the Student EMMYs three years in a row, the AAF ADDY National Best of Show five times in the last six years, and literally hundreds of other awards at the CLIOs, ADC, One Show, D&AD, Communication Arts, International ANDYs, AICP, and the TELLYs. He and his students have worked with top advertising agencies on worldwide brands and creating powerful campaigns for companies like: Nike, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Volkswagen, Gatorade, Nestle, Taco Bell, Levi’s, Airbnb, Burger King, Facebook, Jeep, Microsoft, and many others. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Education at the One Club for Creativity, Co-Chair for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Education Summit, D&AD Educator’s Committee, and is the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect for the American Advertising Federation National Education Executive Council. In recognition of these accomplishments, and many other professional outreach and mentoring efforts, Sheets was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Professional Faculty Excellence Award in 2021 from BYU for his contributions to the School and University. Professionally, Sheets has worked from New York City to Salt Lake City, with big brands to small startups, on everything from international branding and new product rollouts to pro-social public service campaigns, all the while creating innovative messaging campaigns that create memorable and impactful brand experiences. He continues to consult with world-class companies and deserving non-profits on their Ad campaigns today. Sheets’ came to BYU as an adjunct professor in 2003 and brought the vision of implementing a student-run and professionally mentored ad agency. The vision was to teach students through real-world client projects the art of branding via creative problem solving. The BYU Ad Lab was created by Sheets with fellow Advertising Professor Doug McKinlay. Sheets served as the first Director and has since worked with many large, award-winning agencies and world-class clients. He was also the Director of the Laycock Center for Creativity and Collaboration in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Brigham Young University. The BYU Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration was formed in 2011 and Sheets served as its inaugural Director. In this position, Sheets directed creative projects collaborating with faculty and students across the University, particularly the creative disciplines within the College of Fine Arts and Communication such as film, animation, art, design, music, advertising, public relations, illustration, photography, theater, dance, etc. He has degrees in Communication/Advertising from BYU and completed a post-graduate program from the University of Utah in Integrated Marketing Communication.