Why I Declined A PR Award

The old maxim that there is no bad press, is actually not true, and bogus professional recognition awards often fall squarely that category. The most recent example arrived in my in box from “announcing” Bame PR is the recipient of the “2016 Los Angeles Award” in the Public Relations Firm category by the, wait for it, Los Angeles Award Program.

The email claims every year the Los Angeles Award Program identifies companies “that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category.” According to the bestowers of the award, the winners are “exceptional companies which help make the Los Angeles area a great place to live, work and play.”

Sounds impressive, right? It seems the award program compared my company’s PR efforts with other PR companies in the region, and, surprise, surpise, I was found to be at the top of my profession. And furthermore, they informed me I could use this is an accomplishment to show potential clients that I was a great PR person worthy of their business.

Except … I am declining this “honor.” First, I’ve been in the field for 16 years, and frankly, I have never heard of the Los Angeles Award Program. If I haven’t heard of it, in all likelihood the people I’d like to impress have never heard of it either, so they won’t be very impressed.

Second, was not emailed to me but to my colleague, Vasiya, who is based in Colorado and not the principal of Bame PR.

Third, and most importantly, as a trusted PR adviser to my law firm and lawyer clients, I routinely encourage them not to seek meaningless law firm “awards” or “honors.” These “awards” are handed out by people or groups usually unknown, short lived, and even worse, and most likely, require hefty payments in exchange for the honor.

If my experience and considered marketing judgment is that those lawyers and firms should turn down these honors, the choice for me to decline is an easy one. Furthermore, the ironic outcome would be for me to lose credibility with my clients if I accepted this type of award while telling them to stay away.

So this year the Los Angeles Awards will have to select some other PR firm as a top firm of the year. I think I will do just fine without the award. But I do thank them for giving me another story to tell to support the experienced advice I already give my clients about ignoring what my industry calls the “spammy awards.”

If you want a list of other “spammy awards,” please contact me.