Payless tricks social media influencers into paying $600 for $20 shoes

Published Nov. 30, 2018 9:03 a.m. ET
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What’s in a name?

Masquerading under the bogus label “Palessi,” the budget shoe company Payless tricked social media influencers in Los Angeles into paying as much as US$640 for their footwear in an elaborate publicity stunt.

Payless ShoeSource recently set up a fake luxury pop-up shop in a former Armani store along the upscale Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif. The affordable shoe company then invited social media influencers to a ritzy two-day “grand opening” for Palessi.

With the cameras rolling, the “fashionistas” were asked about their first impressions of Palessi’s shoes.

“They’re elegant, sophisticated,” one woman gushed in a video posted by the company on Facebook.

“I could tell it was made from high-quality material,” another man said of the sneakers he was holding.

The social media influencers shelled out $200, $400, and even as much as $645 for shoes that are typically priced between $19.99 and $39.99 at Payless. The fake store raked in a whopping $3,000 before the shoppers were told the truth.

The influencers’ surprised reactions when they found out the shoes they just bought were actually from Payless were also caught on camera and will be used in a series of commercials for the discount retailer.

“Shut up. Are you serious?” one woman said with a laugh. “Did I just pay too much?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” another woman said when she found out.

Doug Cameron, the chief creative officer for DCX Growth Accelerator, the company behind the experiment, told local news station KCBS that he hoped it would encourage consumers to look past the brand names on an item.

“We concluded that brand name is a pretty strong force that’s able to get people to pay 18 times the price they’d normally pay,” he explained.

It wasn’t all bad news for the VIP guests, however. Payless refunded their money and even let them keep the shoes they thought they had bought from Palessi.

Why pay more when you can Payless?

See fashionistas pay as much as $640 for Payless shoes you can get for $19.99 this holiday season! (Don’t worry, we gave them their money back). Why pay more when you can Payless? #palessi #payless Read more about Palessi at Adweek:

Posted by Payless ShoeSource on Thursday, November 29, 2018  

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