Nice, but next time spell our name correctly.
Nice, but next time spell our name correctly.

In the public relations business, there are awards that are not exactly rewards for doing something well. Indeed, we spend an inordinate amount of time identifying and entering award contests for one client who seems obsessed with gaining the recognition that industry awards supposedly connote.

Most of them are the best awards money can buy — though just paying the tariff is no guarantee that one will take home a top award. Honorable mention apparently costs just as much as a gold award. Often its seems as if the award-granting entity (most of which exist merely for the management and bestowment of the award they represent. Of course, the real money is in the trophy.

Just today I receive this notification of special recognition for NewmanPR:

Earlier this year, I sent a notification email to you recognizing that Newman Stuart Association had been selected for the 2009 Best of Coral Gables Award in the Public Relations Counselors category.

In recognition of your achievement, a 2009 Best of Coral Gables Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Newman Stuart Association by following the simple steps on the 2009 Best of Coral Gables Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to receive your award:

Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Newman Stuart Association has been posted on our website. The USCA hereby grants Newman Stuart Association a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

Here’s the lede of the press release:

WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 — Newman Stuart Association has been selected for the 2009 Best of Coral Gables Award in the Public Relations Counselors category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

That’s right — they got the name of the agency wrong, it’s Stuart Newman Associates, not Newman Stuart Association.

Oh, and we’re not located in Coral Gables. Never have been.

So, what’s the value of an award like this? Zip, zero, zilch. If it’s bestowed by an organization that is so inept as to totally bungle the agency’s name and location, it can’t mean much, right? How can the U.S. Commerce Association recognize excellence if they don’t practice it?

It’s a nice-looking award, but I think we’ll pass and look instead for a reward we can earn.