Tuscaloosa, Ala. — Student voting has opened for the Backbone Awards, an award sponsored by The University of Alabama’s Minerva portfolio program. This unique award recognizes advertising that creates positive change in the advertising industry.

Launched in 2022 in response to a Young Ones brief, the Backbone Awards distinguishes itself from other awards or shows by recognizing work that demonstrates exceptional corporate social responsibility or leaves a lasting, positive cultural impact.

“The Backbone Awards are a symbol of integrity,” said Miles Neto, Minerva student and co-founder of the Backbone Awards. “It stands for the desire to make an impact not only in the industry but the world.”

A nod to the work Minerva respects, the award itself is a lifelike sculpture of a spine. Cast by students in the University of Alabama’s metal foundry, Backbone Awards are made of art-quality bronze and high-quality recycled aluminum.

“We wanted the award to be a piece of art to hang on your wall rather than a glossy dust catcher on a shelf,” said Mark Barry, assistant professor and director of Minerva. “It’s a heavy, raw, gritty award because that describes the kind of work that gets our attention.”

Minerva students select the nominees, and students from around the country vote. Each year, the nominee with the most votes wins top honors and a Bronze Backbone Award — hand-delivered by two peer-selected Minerva students. Two runners-up receive Aluminum Backbone Awards.

Last year’s winner of the Bronze Backbone Award was “The Lost Class” by Leo Burnett. “The Unseen Story” by MullenLowe and “The Workshop” by Mary Buzbee and Lauren Meadows won the Aluminum Backbone Awards. This year’s nominees include transformative campaigns such as “Are Your Pressworthy?” by TBWA/Chiat/Day, “Chillboards” by DDB, and others.

Student voting (must have a .edu email address) begins on December 1 and closes on January 31. Winners are announced on the first Monday of February. 

For further details and to cast your vote, visit backboneawards.com.

Minerva is The University of Alabama’s two-year advertising portfolio program. Students concentrate in art direction or copywriting and work as creative teams to build a competitive portfolio packed with conceptually compelling and strategically sound campaigns while earning their undergraduate or graduate degrees in advertising.