McDonald’s uses car washes to promote their drive throughs


Every car can be your favourite restaurant, according to McDonald’s in Switzerland. Especially clean cars. The fast food company uses car washes to promote their drive through restaurants.  A trip through the car wash increases the fun of eating in the car. The campaign specifically advertises a family using the car wash as a fun experience for children.

In a classic form of storytelling, a German marketing agency relies on little stories that customers of the fast food chain McDonalds associate with their purchase of burgers, fries and co. The agency obviously sees a connection between takeaway food and the use of car washes. Thus, the ride through the car wash became one of the central themes of the new campaign to increase sales at the McDrive, the drive-in counter for buying takeaway food.


In an emotional commercial, a father is seen trying to please his young daughter by the two of them first buying food from McDonalds at the McDrive and then driving through a car wash. The message of the campaign, according to the advertising agency, is that the McDrive counter can turn any car into a favourite restaurant because additional entertainment can take place alongside the food.

But it is not only in the campaign that the car wash plays a role. In the visibility of the advertising for this campaign, the agency also specifically uses car washes to appeal to customers. Thus, a large-scale façade advertisement was placed in the direct vicinity of Zurich’s largest car wash.


It remains to be seen whether a greater rush of fast-food customers to car washes will meet with greater approval. At many car wash locations, large amounts of rubbish place a greater burden on the operators. Customers who dispose of their rubbish at the car wash after a visit to a fast-food restaurant and also occupy self-service wash bays without using them effectively are often not the car wash operators’ favourite customers.

Author: Rieneke Kok

Rieneke is editor for She also writes for the Dutch version,

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