After graduating from College of the Holy Cross in 1983, Brian Sheehan joined what was then Dancer Fitzgerald & Sample (now Saatchi & Saatchi) in New York. He began his career working on the General Mills account, developing advertising for such brands as Cheerios. By the mid-1980s, he was working on the Toyota account, developing ads for the “Oh, What a Feeling!” campaign.
In 1988, Sheehan moved to Saatchi & Saatchi Japan as account director on the Toyota business. While there, he worked on campaigns for Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
In 1990, he moved to Saatchi & Saatchi Hong Kong as group account director, running a group of 15 accounts comprising 70 percent of the agency’s business, including Hilton Hotels, British Airways, IKEA, Guerlain cosmetics, TIME magazine, News Corporation, Toyota, Lexus and Hewlett-Packard.
In 1993, Sheehan was named CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Japan. Some of the agency’s key accounts included Toyota, British Airways, Qantas, Bayer, Chrysler/Jeep, Kodak, Sara Lee, DuPont, Hewlett-Packard and Corona beer.
In 1996, Sheehan was appointed CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Australia. The agency’s accounts included Procter & Gamble, Toyota, David Jones, SHOWTIME, Castrol and NRMA. In 1998, S&S Australia was named “Agency of the Year” by AdNews.
In 1999, Sheehan was made chairman and CEO of Team One Advertising in Los Angeles, a wholly owned division of Saatchi & Saatchi. Team One’s largest account is Lexus, which they launched in 1989, quickly establishing Lexus as the top-selling luxury automotive brand in the U.S. In addition to Lexus, Team One’s clients included the Ritz-Carlton hotel company worldwide, Flexjet and Procter & Gamble.
In the fall of 2008, Sheehan left Team One to take up his new position as associate professor of advertising at Newhouse. He continues his relationship with Saatchi & Saatchi as a consultant, managing the agency’s Toyota Worldwide Executive Board. Sheehan is also an advisory board member of Fuhu, a China-U.S. based Internet software company. He has consulted for many companies on digital media, including Brazil’s national energy company, Petrobras, Comerica Bank and Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s largest Bank.
In 2009, Sheehan gave the keynote address at the Direct Marketing Association’s Global Leaders Forum in San Diego. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chairman of the Direct Marketing Association’s Strategic Summits on Social Marketing in San Francisco and Boston.
In 2010, Sheehan was lead author on a research article about advertising effects on digital music piracy, published in the peer-reviewed Atlantic Journal of Communications. He was lead author on a follow-up article published in Advances in Communications and Mass Media Research from the 8th Annual International Conference on Communications and Mass Media. He was also lead author on an article published in 2012 in the Journal of Advertising Research on the same subject. The Recording Industry Association of America awarded him a $20,000 grant to aid in the research for these articles. In 2010, he co-authored a book chapter, along with Optimedia CEO Antony Young, in the peer-reviewed Handbook of Research on "Digital Media and Advertising: User Generated Content Consumption."
In 2010, Sheehan published his first book, "Basics: Online Marketing," which has also been published in Spanish, French, German and Korean. He published his second book, "Basics: Marketing Management," in 2011. His third book, "Loveworks: How the World’s Best Marketers Make Emotional Connections to Win in the Marketplace," was published in 2013 and launched at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He has also written numerous articles for Advertising Age magazine.
In May 2011, Sheehan was named the Newhouse “Teacher of the Year,” receiving the Newhouse Award for Teaching Excellence from the graduating senior class.