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Moo-Moo Car Wash Cross-Promotions

September 4, 2013
Moo Moo Car Wash Custom Tokens

Cincinnati, OH – Moo Moo Car Wash in the Columbus, Ohio area offers customers a variety of express tunnel car wash options, from the “Fat Free” basic wash, to the mid “Low Fat” version, to the “Whole” wash with all of the available options. In addition, the company provides basic auto services including oil changes, lubrication, coolant flush, and tire rotation. To help cross-sell these services to car wash customers, anyone purchasing an Express Lube oil change, for instance, receives a free car wash. While this sounds promising, in reality it proved challenging, until the company purchased durable, metal car wash tokens.

Cross-promotion of related automotive services can be a great way to build business and loyalty among customers. But if the cross-promotional effort is difficult for the businesses or the customer, then it may have an adverse effect. Moo Moo found this out in their initial attempts to promote their car wash services to auto service customers.

Originally the company tried using paper tokens, Moolah as it was called in this very cow-centric environment, but the fragility of the paper proved challenging.

“We would give Moolah out to customers, but we ran into problems” recalls Moo Moo Car Wash Operations Manager Michael Kolb. “Customers were not using them right away, so they did not recycle fast enough. And if they were folded, the magnetic strip across the Moolah was damaged, making it nearly impossible for the bill validators at the car wash kiosks to read them.”

When that happened, an attendant would have to provide assistance, slowing the process all around.

Moo Moo also tried other methods including punching a hole through the lube receipt when it was presented to an attendant for payment of a car wash. The punched receipt served as an indicator that the car wash had been redeemed, while scanning a bar code that they had made accounted for the transaction. This covered the accountability aspects of the program, it was difficult to administer.

“This was a pain because it required that we have someone at the kiosk at all times” continued Kolb. “If someone came into the store to purchase a wash pass, then it would hold up the person waiting at the kiosk. It worked, but it wasn’t ideal.”

So Kolb suggested the idea of using tokens. When customers purchase a Conventional oil change, they get a token which can be redeemed for a “Fat Free” car wash, the basic wash valued at $5, or they receive a $10 “Whole” wash token with the High Mileage, Gold, or Platinum oil changes.

The “Fat Free” can be upgraded to either a “Low-Fat” wash, valued at $8 which includes a spot free rinse, triple foam bath, wheel blaster, underbody spray, and a clear coat protectant, or a $10 “Whole” wash, adding tire shine and Simoniz® Double Bond polish to the services, by paying the difference with either cash or credit card, or by using an additional “Fat Free” token that they have saved from a prior visit.

“This system works great because it allows customers to be self-sufficient without having to wait for a staff member” said Kolb. And unlike the paper “Moolah” which would last through a couple cycles, the durable metal tokens can be re-used wash after wash.

“The tokens read perfectly each time” said Kolb, “ and because we went with a high security coin, there is no crossplay, meaning nobody else’s tokens are accepted, so we’re not giving away washes.”

To ensure security and simplify administration of the program, Moo Moo opted for two different tokens to cover each end of the wash spectrum. A smaller (0.901”) gold-looking metal alloy token, is used for the “Fat Free” wash ($5), while the “Whole” wash is a bigger (0.985’) bi-metal token which offers even greater security to correspond with their higher value ($10).

Both have a unique metal signature due to their respective compositions, which is tested through the coin accepter (X-Mark X-10), along with an optical inspection of the coin face and diameter read, ensuring that standard brass or arcade tokens will not work in its place.

The tokens are minted by Osborne Coinage with the Moo Moo name and logo, so they serve as mini billboards each time they are seen with pocket change, in cup holder, or wherever they are stored prior to their usage.

Keep in mind that customers always have the option of upselling themselves, selecting a Whole wash, for example, inserting a “Fat Free” token, and then paying the difference in cash or by credit card, or by inserting a pair of the “Fat Free” tokens.

Kolb purchased 5,000 each of the “Fat Free” and “Whole” tokens, which are working their way into circulation at the company’s six (soon to be eight) locations. Approximately 30-60 tokens are given away daily to auto-service customers, most of which eventually make their way back to the car wash kiosk. While their primary usage is to incent lube customers to use the car wash, managers also use them as promotional tools.

“I usually have tokens in my pocket at all times. If I’m talking to a customer that says ‘Oh, I just love the Moo Moo!’ or ‘I’ve seen those but I’ve never been to one’ then I’ll give them a token. So we use some for promotional uses too.”

In addition to the self-serve aspect of the tokens, allowing customers to be self-sufficient in their wash selection and payment, Kolb also likes the economy of the tokens.

“They cost about the same as paper tokens” recalls Kolb, “but paper Moolah only lasts 2 or 3 times, while tokens last forever.”

The ability to re-use them repeatedly makes their per-use cost essentially zero.

Simplicity and economy are key factors to the success of any cross-promotional effort. In this case, the durability of the tokens aids both the simplicity and economy, and provides a marketing/branding effort each time they are viewed. Tokens are helping Moo Moo Car Wash to build volume on both their auto services as well as their car washes. You might say that providing a token of appreciation for auto service customers is helping MOOOVE them along to the car wash.

New press releases highlighting token uses are added all the time. Please continue to check back for the latest white papers. If you'd like to speak with a sales specialist, call

1-877-480-0457.