Carabaos being guided through the McDonald's drive thru

McDonald’s Carabao-Thru

McDonald’s Philippines



McDonald’s banners inclusivity by welcoming the most local Filipino rides to the drive-thru, including the carabao, creating a deeper connection with the local market. 

The Challenge

Drive-thrus in the Philippines do not cater to the realities of Filipino roads today.

More than just cars, Filipino roads are now dominated by bicycles and motorcycles that had first risen in popularity during the pandemic. Additionally, only urban areas are shown in drive-thru advertising – despite the fact that 52% of Filipinos live in rural areas, many of whom could not possibly afford a car.

Put this together with the fact that McDonald’s is a big international brand, commuters (especially those in the rural areas) perceive McDonald’s drive-thru stores to be intimidating and unwelcoming to them.

The Solution

At the start of the pandemic, we discovered that there was a surge in two-wheeled vehicles because of restrictions on mobility. Given this, we turned drive-thru into “ride-thru”, welcoming all kinds of local rides — from scooters and motorcycles, to tricycles and bicycles.

We then pushed the message of inclusivity even further by focusing on rural areas, where one of the most popular ride is the carabao.

McDonald’s took over the annual Kneeling Carabao Festival, a parade of over 800 carabaos in honor of the season’s bountiful harvest. We created a detour where farmers and their carabaos went to the ride-thru, in a unique and massive display of local color.

The Results

Engagement in One Week

“Carabao-Thru” successfully uplifted brand affinity for the target audience. By August, the ‘Brand I Trust’ score for McDonald’s drive-thru areas outside Metro Manila increased by 8.5 points – 4 times that of the main competitors. The campaign received 95% positive sentiment from Filipinos who expressed love and admiration for McDonald’s highlighting their local culture.

The campaign successfully communicated McDonald’s ride-thru accessibility and inclusivity to Filipinos from both urban and rural regions. McDonald’s stole share from its main competitor and its share of visits increased nationwide by 3% vs the previous month, with more riders of alternative vehicles visiting the stores.

Beyond the local market, McDonald’s “Carabao-Thru” was hailed as one of the best McDonald’s campaigns in Asia, garnering the highest own-able score among other McDonald’s campaigns.


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