​The AdWheel Awards recognize the marketing and communications efforts of APTA’s members. Additionally, the annual awards competition creates a structure to share best practices and to raise the awareness of the value of public transportation marketing professionals within the industry. The entry deadline for the 2021 cycle was Thursday, January 14, 2021.

View Your Entry Invoice

What are the categories and subcategories?

In an effort to align the AdWheel Awards with organizational and industry strategic goals, awards will be presented in the following four (4) categories. For the 2021 cycle, we have added a special COVID-19 category, which will recognize such things as efforts to communicate health information, showcase employees as essential workers, and informing the public about new community safety efforts. Each category has seven (7) subcategories for entries to be submitted under.

  1. Best Marketing and Communications on the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • ​Print Media (e.g. brochure, newspaper ad, billboard)
    • Electronic Media (e.g. online video, radio ad, web content)
    • Special Event (e.g. press conference)
    • Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram efforts)
    • Partnership (e.g. involving another group in your effort)
    • Shoestring Tactic (e.g. any subcategory done on a very limited budget. Include the budget number in your effectiveness statement)
    • Comprehensive Campaign (A campaign is an effort with multiple components that are used together to achieve your goal​)
  2. Best Marketing and Communications to Support Ridership or Sales
    • ​Print Media (e.g. brochure, newspaper ad, billboard)
    • Electronic Media (e.g. online video, radio ad, web content)
    • Special Event (e.g. community event, press conference)
    • Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat efforts)
    • Partnership (e.g. involving another group in your effort)
    • Shoestring Tactic (e.g. any subcategory done on a very limited budget. Include the budget number in your effectiveness statement)
    • Comprehensive Campaign (A campaign is an effort with multiple components that are used together to achieve your goal​)
  3. Best Marketing and Communications Educational Initiative (Non-Covid-19 [e.g. general public information,​ improve safety or security, workforce development, courtesy, or other transit objective])
    • ​Print Media (e.g. brochure, newspaper ad, billboard)
    • Electronic Media (e.g. online video, radio ad, web content)
    • Special Event (e.g. community event, press conference)
    • Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram efforts)
    • Partnership (e.g. involving another group in your effort)
    • Shoestring Tactic (e.g. any subcategory done on a very limited budget. Include the budget number in your effectiveness statement)
    • Comprehensive Campaign (A campaign is an effort with multiple components that are used together to achieve your goal​
  4. ​​​Best Marketing and Communications to Highlight Transit Needs/Funding​
    • ​Print Media (e.g. brochure, newspaper ad, billboard)
    • Electronic Media (e.g. online video, radio ad, web content)
    • Special Event (e.g. community event, press conference)
    • Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram efforts)
    • Partnership (e.g. involving another group in your effort)
    • Shoestring Tactic (e.g. any subcategory done on a very limited budget. Include the budget number in your effectiveness statement)
    • Comprehensive Campaign (A campaign is an effort with multiple components that are used together to achieve your goal​)​

How and when are winners honored?

First Place winners will be notified Friday, April 16, 2021.

Grand Award winners are selected from the First Place winners and will be honored at the TRANSform Conference and APTA EXPO 2021 in Orlando, FL, November 7-10, 2021. Grand Award status notifications will be sent in mid-summer 2021 to all First Place winning entrants.

Eligibility:

All APTA members in good standing may submit entries. Entries may be submitted by individual members, or two or more members working on the same project. For answers to membership questions, call APTA’s Membership Department at 202-496-4800.

Eligible Entries: Elements or campaigns must have been used in whole or in part between November 1, 2019 and January 14, 2021, and that particular entry element/campaign may not have previously won an AdWheel Award.​

NOTE: All materials entered become property of APTA and may be used in promotion of both APTA and the AdWheel Awards.

All entries must have been submitted via the online entry portal by 11:59 pm (PT) on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

Fees:

The AdWheel Awards Program is a self-sustaining program. Entry fees are used to cover the costs of running the program. You are allowed to enter in as many subcategories and categories as you like. The 2021 entry fee is $125 per entry.

  • ​You may pay by credit card after you complete your entry.
  • You can also pay by check. Please remember to send a copy of your invoice with your payment. Many checks are sent to APTA and we need to know where the funds should be allocated.
  • Payment is due within 30 days of the January 14 submission deadline, (February 14, 2021).
  • Purchase Orders are not allowed as a form of payment for this awards program.

Make checks payable to: American Public Transportation Association and mail to:

APTA
AdWheel Awards-c/o Stephen Kendrick
1300 I Street NW, Suite 1200 E
Washington, D.C. 20005

Entry Tips:

APTA has created a list of tips to help you submit your AdWheel Award entry.

  • Avoid the Rush Hour Traffic Jam: The submission portal receives a lot of activity the last three (3) days before the deadline. To avoid overloading the site, be sure to submit your entries in advance.
  • Group Selection: Be sure to verify your 2019 ridership statistics before selecting a group category.
  • File Upload Limits: The maximum file size is 20 MB. Please do not upload zip files.
  • Video Files: All video files must be submitted as YouTube or Vimeo URLs.
  • Advertising Agency Submissions: If you are an advertising agency, be sure the transit agency’s name that you are representing is clearly listed on the submission. If you are unsure which category to select for the entry, ask the transit agency.
  • Category Selection: Double check the category you have selected to make sure it is the correct category for your entry.

The Written Part of the Entry is the “Effectiveness Statement”

Submit clear and concise effectiveness statements, maximum 800 characters in length per question, including spaces and punctuation. (Judges read this statement, view files you have uploaded, and follow links you have attached, in order to determine the score of the entry.)

  1. Who was the target audience for this entry?
  2. What was the situation/challenge that necessitated creating this entry?
  3. What was the strategy/objective of this entry?
  4. What results/impact did this entry have? (e.g. increased ridership, higher sales, greater public awareness, etc.)
  5. Please tell the judges why this entry was submitted and why it should win an AdWheel Award.

Group determinations are based on your parent organization’s 2019 data:

  • Group 1: Public transportation systems with 4 million or fewer annual passenger trips
  • Group 2: Public transportation systems with more than 4 million, but fewer than 20 million annual passenger trips
  • Group 3: Public transportation systems with more than 20 million annual passenger trips
  • Group 4: Business members (manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, consultants, associations, or transportation management organizations)

Judging Criteria:

Each entry is judged on the following measures:

  • ​Effectiveness/Success in Achieving Purpose/Goals
  • Overall Impact and Impression
  • Clarity of Message and Information
  • Production Quality

The two highest scoring subcategory winners and the campaign subcategory winner will be considered for the overall category​ Grand Award.

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