Shoes Covered In Beer Gone Viral

Shoes Covered In Beer Gone Viral

Last week I wrote about the seemingly boring subject of nostalgia and how to tie into persuasion. A five word Facebook post reminded me of the power of this tool.

The post won’t mean anything to you unless you went to the University of Maryland but it went viral within a Facebook group. I’ll reveal the post and why it was so powerful shortly but first…

Here’s the backstory:

I went to the University of Maryland for my undergraduate degree. In the town there was a bar called “The Vous.” It existed from the early 70’s through the late 90’s (give or take a few years). If you went to Maryland during those years and lived on campus, “The Vous” was your second home. They served only beer… and a lot of it. By the end of the night a layer of beer covered the floor and any shoes that happened to be on it. The phrase, “Vous Shoes” emerged. Our “Vous Shoes” referenced that special pair of shoes we always wore to this bar.  What made them special was the shell of beer that covered them after countless nights of partying.

There is a Facebook group dedicated to “The Vous” where people post about their nostalgic memories. The group boasts a membership of seven thousand, most of whom are inactive. Recently, someone posted the following headline:

Who Else Had Vous Shoes?

To date, there are over 900 likes and over 150 comments. Over 13% of the entire group liked that post. A quick inspection of the site shows that number to be more than triple the number of likes of any other previous post and more than double the number of comments.

Five simple words that dredge up fond memories. Those memories inspired the most popular post in the seven or so years the group has been in existence.

What made it work? The nostalgic feel and romanticizing of the past. Not a single mention of the long lines to get in, the nasty hangovers from cheap beer or the questionable decisions made at 2am penetrated the comments section. Only the happy memories remain.

Plus, the “in group” dynamic strengthens the camaraderie. We bonded over the shared experience.  Whether you attended in the 70’s or 90’s we all shared the experience. We all owned Vous Shoes, so we’re all part of that same group.

Powerful stuff, right? Five simple words. It just goes to show you don’t need to find some way out there clever hook to get people’s attention. Find something that’s common to your audience and evokes positive feelings or memories and you may have your own Vous Shoe headline.


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