Pastilla & Metrolink Win Big at the 2023 AdWheel Awards

+ Pastilla & Metrolink Win Big at the 2023 AdWheel Awards


Writer: Sanela Ciubotaru Kurtek

Editor: Viri Serrano

Designer: Mark Yoder

Our agency is happy to announce that we received the First Place Award in the 2023 AdWheel Awards for the Customer Appreciation Day campaign we created for Metrolink.

Awarded annually, the AdWheel Awards reward the marketing and communication efforts of American Public Transportation Association (APTA) members. Additionally, the competition presents an excellent opportunity for public transportation marketers to demonstrate their value in the field to share ideas and best marketing practices.

The awards are presented in four categories, each divided into seven subcategories in which entries can be submitted. The Customer Appreciation Day Pastilla planned with Metrolink won first place in the Best Marketing and Communications to Support Ridership or Sales category, subcategory Special Event. 

Metrolink’s Valentine’s Inspired Customer Appreciation Day 

Since 2020, Metrolink and Pastilla have undertaken a number of initiatives as part of their ongoing strategic partnership. Metrolink celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022, and their Customer Appreciation Day, which always falls on Valentine’s Day, marked the beginning of a year of celebrations. To increase engagement and entertain Metrolink riders, Pastilla created a campaign based on the 90’s Valentine’s Day cards with the central messages of “Thank You” and “We Love Metrolink Riders.”With the vibrant 90’s pop art style as a central theme for our creative, we created promotional videos, social media posts, staff T-shirts, station pop-up signs, and email marketing materials to communicate the appreciation message. Metrolink’s robotic voice, which typically welcomes passengers at stations, delighted passengers on Valentine’s Day with greetings such as, “All stations are brief, but our love for you is eternal. Will you be our Valentine?” In addition, the CEO of Metrolink sent a video Valentine’s Day card to their riders, thanking them for “choo-choo-choosing the train.”

At selected stations, Metrolink staff treated riders to candy, Metrolink swag, and Instagrammable photo boards for passengers to take photos for their social media profiles. Metrolink riders wrote about their positive experiences on social media, including:

“It was such a nice surprise. Wasn’t expecting it at all and I’m still kinda beaming from it. Thanks, @Metrolink!”


Customer Appreciation Day was well-received, and ridership on the campaign day was 11% higher than the previous week. In addition, we reached our engagement goals on social media and exceeded our email campaign open rate goals, boosting Metrolink’s brand recognition and proving their customer-centricity.

Working with Metrolink has been a privilege, and Pastilla is very grateful for this opportunity. Our team produces and executes their creative while also contributing to their overall communication strategy. Together, we’re able to increase brand awareness and reach more riders, and this award is another confirmation of our successful partnership.