Discount shoe retailer Payless opened a fake luxury store and convinced influencers to pay $600 for $20 footwear

Payless / YouTubePayless managed to trick fashion influencers.
  • Would you pay $US600 for a pair of PaylessShoeSource sneakers?
  • Some influencers would.
  • As part of a viral ad campaign, the discount shoe retailer opened up a luxury shoe store and filled it with its cheap footwear.
  • The company branded itself as “Palessi” and managed to trick fashion influencers into paying more than 10 times as much as the original prices for its discount shoes.
  • According to AdWeek, the reactions of the prank victims will be used for cable-TV and social-media ads.
  • The influencers were given their money back and got to keep the shoes for free.

Payless recently had some fun at the expense of influencers.

With some help from advertising agency DCX Growth Accelerator, the discount shoe retailer filled a former Armani store with its own shoes and added an additional zero onto its regular prices.

It then invited fashion influencers to get an exclusive first look at the new brand.

What did they call it? “Palessi,” of course.


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Naturally, the influencers fell for the experiment.

A series of videos released by the retailer showed their guests waxing lyrical over the “sophisticated” footwear, which they could tell was “made with high-quality materials.”

Some even paid $US200, $US400, and even $US600 for shoes that are normally sold for $US19.99 to $US39.99.

Palessi sold more than $US3,000 worth of shoes during its first three hours after opening.

However, the company returned the cash spent by the victims of its prank and let them keep the shoes for free.

Cameras caught the priceless reactions of said victims when they were told the shoes were not designer and, in fact, came from Payless.

According to AdWeek, these reactions will be broadcast in a series of ads on cable networks and social media.

Payless “wanted to push the social-experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” Doug Cameron, chief creative officer of DCX Growth Accelerator, told AdWeek.

“The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion,” Payless’ head of marketing, Sara Couch, added.

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