Douglas R. McKinlay graduated from Brigham Young University in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in communications and in 1969 with a master's degree in mass communications. He later returned to BYU as an associate professor, and helped establish the university's award-winning AdLab. McKinlay retired in January 2016.
After finishing his master's work, McKinlay worked as a sales promotion specialist for General Electric in San Francisco. From there he moved to New York as a copywriter and in-house account manager. Eventually he joined forces with Dick Keiler to form the Keiler and McKinlay Advertising company in Connecticut. In 1980 he left the company and started his own, McKinlay and Partners. After seventeen years he sold out to his partners because he and his wife were called to preside over the Arizona Tuscon mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1999 he returned to BYU and joined the faculty until 2016.
In 2011, with the assistance of a grant from the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts, McKinlay and two BYU students (Scott Stevens and Travis Meidell) created a Doritos Super Bowl commercial. The campaign, Doritos Guardians, features chip-lovers pitted against fearsome food predators. It won a Gold Addy Award from the American Advertising Federation Student Creative Awards Show.
In 2013 he completed an internship with the Richard Group in Dallas, TX to stay current with new advances in the field of advertising.
During McKinlay’s tenure—between 6,238 creative review sessions and 47 semesters—he and Jeff Sheets founded the BYU AdLab. “We had been thinking for some time that there needed to be a place for kids to get together outside of class to think and talk about their ideas,” McKinlay recalled.
In June 2012 McKinlay spoke at BYU's weekly devotional. He urged students to avoid Satan and his efforts to distance us all from the Savior. In 2014 he spoke at the April Convocation of the College of Fine Arts and Communications.
McKinlay and his wife, Betty Jo Vance McKinlay, have six children and twenty-three grandchildren.
- CFAC - Speeches and Publications (15 Apr 2014)
- BYU Magazine - College Buzz: Golden Ads (Spring 2013)
- The Universe - Ad professor urges students to avoid Satan's efforts to distance us from the Savior (19 June 2012)
- The Universe - Advertising professor to speak at Devotional (19 June 2012)
- The Deseret News - Pro-quality ad campaigns flowing out of BYU’s AdLab (12 July 2010)