Share This Post

Alok's Posts / Startup

5 reasons why AWARDS are a SCAM

First check out these screenshots captured this morning: (rotate on a mobile device to read well)

One of the phoniest and scam ridden facets of Corporate Life are ‘Awards’.

There are Companies that make serious money ‘inventing’ awards and then ‘awarding’ them to people, corporates and everyone under the Sun!

My views on Awards:

1. The need for Awards comes from massive ‘self pity’.

Take the advertising agency business (In India) for instance. They are a very under appreciated and constantly pressurised lot. Their clients seldom praise them and their fees and revenues and always under pressure and decline. 

To get out of their misery and feel good about themselves, they have become the Father of AWARDS!

And sure, since the purpose of these awards is to party and escape, they are held on Beaches (like Goa, etc) and involve rain dances and massive booze sessions. 

The tragedy is that many of the entries in these awards are PHONEY!! Agencies issue one ad in some local paper (think ‘The Tardeo Times’) and then claim that it was a GREAT AD for their CLIENT published in Media. Later their clients object, but since this was an escapism event, who cares!!

Some agencies ‘claim’ that awards make them win business. That’s Bull. Each campaign is about lower costs and deeper insights. Awards don’t guarantee those. Ask yourself  – if you were launching a Brand, would you give business to an agency with lots of awards or to someone with the brightest and most cost effective idea?

Similarly, Bollywood is the greatness of ‘falseness’, and they “Take the Award “for having the most FAKE AWARDS in the world 🙂

2. Awards are massively incestuous.

Look at the juries of most awards. They are from the same industry that is being awarded and the ‘award givers’ have been usually been ‘award takers’. 

It’s a nice merry-go-round of self praise and back thumping – almost like a kid’s birthday party where the hostess makes sure that at the end of the party everyone takes home some ‘return gift’.

3. Awards make nice Money making Corporate Events.

And nice Corporate Events make Nice Money!! There are Companies (folks like the Brand Congress, The Best Consumer Brand, x, y and z) who will contact you and NOMINATE you for an award!! 

Check out the “Red Herring Scam” here

The concept is to have as many weird nominations as possible. Once there are some 20 silly nominations, AND you have accepted (which means you will show up at the event & sometimes even pay for it), this awards Company also contacts Corporates and Sponsors and they SPONSOR the prizes!!

So, I have been to an award ceremony where a Shoe Company was felicitating Sahara Airlines for BEST AIRLINE!!! 

Funnily, today none of the 3 jokers – The Award Company, the Shoe Company nor Sahara Airlines EXIST!!

On a similar note, Ernst And Young have the Annual ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award. They market it like crazy and then end up rewarding the same people each and every year. Why do they do this? ‘Coz E&Y wants to remain relevant to Corporate Houses every year… 

4. Awards make for good Marketing and Sign Off material. 

Have you come across some men whose business cards read ‘Mr. Jack Ass’ ACA, ICAI, AMA, CCD, TPA, IAMMA, MBA (University of Haji Ali)??? 

Well, Corporate Sign Off’s are the same!! 

Business owners sign off saying, Winner of the Peacock Festival, Bronze Winner of the Sand Dunes Storm Awards, Silver Runner of We All Slept With Each Other’s Wife Ceremony, etc. etc.

5. Awards are the best office decoration!

Hmmm… why invest in freshly cut flowers or expensive art or posters? Just sign up to all the award nominations you get, and then STUFF the office with all sorts of trophies, discs, medals and other scrap material you can get! 

THE BEST DECORATION MATERIAL AVAILABLE (Actual Photo of MY OWN OFFICE – (didn’t know what to do with this stuff)! 


Awards are for the weak and courage-less. Don’t even waste a minute on them. I am doing so in all earnest myself.


Also read my experience with Red Herring.

Saying NO to Red Herring. NO. NO. NO.




Share This Post


  1. Well said Alok – You are a RockStar!

  2. Alok, Loved it! But then on second thought – I am sure you do not have space for any more trophies – which is why you can say so! I am still waiting for my first one and hence hesitant in endorsing your view publicly!


    I’d not mind getting my first trophy. Please nominate me for the award of the best entrepreneur in my office complex –  sponsored by the local caterer. I’d get to practice public speeking and get a return gift which can be proudly displayed on my office reception. It’d be greatly admired by the courier boys – as they are the most frequent visitors anyway. 


  3. Special Thanks to Yatin Mulay who pointed out something horrendous I had written in the original post.




    Yatin, you are my God. Thanks


    Yatin Mulay to Alok

    show details 7:58 PM (37 minutes ago) 

    Yatin Mulay has sent you a message on The Rodinhoods

    Subject: Regarding the Awards Article

    Hi Alok, just read your brilliant article on the awards function. Each time i read posts by you i am amazed by your very keen observations.

    But i’m writing this message to point out something very disturbing and that is the last line in your article “Awards are for the weak and mentally disabled”

    Have you ever talked to mother who has mentally disabled child? I don’t think so because I’m sure that in that case a sensitive person like you would have never made such an insensitive remark (IMO) and would have used some other word like narcissist

    As someone with “certified 80% disabled body”, I can tell you that our country already has a massive bias & stigma against disabled, we don’t need it cemented further by accepted role models like you. Lot of people including me look up to you.

    Sorry for such PM, but i have full faith that you’ll take it in the right spirit 🙂
    Cheers & Best Regards!

  4. Wow…earlier i thought it was a pride to get such award.
    But after reading this article i have realized how fake such awards are.
    Ramalinga Raju was given both E&Y Entrepreneur and Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance in 2008.
    Now this is the reason why ramalinga raju got the award.

  5. Hi Alok


    This is a very interesting read.


    Awards  is  buying out value…. An exchange process…You give me “this” I give you “this”…You give me 1000$  I give you 100$…someone mentioned  it’s cheap capitalism

  6. nice 🙂

  7. I dont know about anyone else, but the single thing I am taking away from this is that there are still people alive in this world who like Fleetwood Mac. Highly awesome 🙂



  9. Very funny.


    In general, I am of the same opinion. Awards are Frauds ! 🙂 

    Check Bollywood, in last 5 years have invented 5-6 type of further new awards, they make a showbiz event and sell the satellite rights. Thats how they are making money i guess. 

    So every other day you see some type of awards and the bolly heroines dancing and thanking profusely 😛 on stage going on. BS @##$#@

    There should be only limited number of such award ceremonies, otherwise it dilutes the case.

  10. 🙂 cheers! couldnt agree more. I still have original LPs of Rumours and Tusk…! 🙂

  11. Aji – read this

  12. 🙂 my real problem was it was not exciting me enough now I know some more reasons behind it 🙂 

    We have done amazing innovations at:

    1) Knowledge management

    2) Project management

    3) People management

    4) Quality of work and work flow

    5) Client management (Complete process)

    6) Team training modules 

    etc etc

    This is our core, this is what is our root but no one cares about it (may be rightly so) but as of now we are only good at core and thus not fit for awards, the surface growth is restricted (by choice) as we can’t have both quality-inside growth and user-base growth … quality-inside is our character and user-base growth is our personality … we have selected character growth first and personality to compliment it … will get some awards later 🙂

    Thanks Alok.

  13. Well Alok

    I was wondering over the genuineness of Govt Awards like Bharat Ratna  and the Superset  Gandhi Nehru Awards. A partial list of such awards can be found below

  14. Uncle uncle award chaiye!! please please doh naa!! 

  15. Eye opening…- silver runner of we all slept with each others wife ceremony…Haha.



Leave a Reply

Lost Password