​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 2023 Cycle opened November 17, 2022 and will close December 16, 2022 at 11:59 pm PT. First Place winners will be honored at the 2023 Marketing & Communications Workshop, February 26-March 1, 2023 in Las Vegas. Grand Award winners will be honored October 8-11, 2023 at APTA’s TRANSform Conference & EXPO in Orlando.

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. Each category has seven (7) subcategories for entries to be submitted under.

For the 2023 cycle, we introduce a special Workforce Development category to recognize such things as efforts to hire and retain bus/rail operators and all other public transportation industry staff.

  1. Best Marketing and Communications on Workforce Development (e.g. staff recruitment or retention)
    • ​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 organization 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 organization 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-Workforce Development [e.g. Covid-19 response, general public information,​ improve safety or security, 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 organization 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 (e.g. ballot measure campaign, legislative efforts)​
    • ​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 organization 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 and non-winners will be notified on January 30, 2023 and honored in-person at the 2023 Marketing & Communications Workshop, February 25 – March 1, 2023, in Las Vegas, NV.

Grand Award winners are selected from the First Place winners and will be honored at the 2023 TRANSform Conference & APTA EXPO in Orlando, FL, October 8-11, 2023. Grand Award status notifications will be sent in mid-summer 2023 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 December 15, 2021 and December 15, 2022, 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 be submitted via the online entry portal by 11:59 pm (PT) on Friday, December 16, 2022.

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 2023 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 December 16 submission deadline, (January 16, 2023).
  • 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 four (4) business days before the deadline. To avoid overloading the site, be sure to submit your entries in advance.
  • Group Selection: Be sure to verify your 2021 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 2021 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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