Payless (as in the discount shoe store) has just pulled off the farce of the century. In an experiment that aimed to prove that buyers would pay top dollar just for a label, the brand opened an extremely fake boutique called Palessi and invited a group of influencers to come and buy the brand’s new styles. But wait, all of the “designer” Palessi shoes were only $20 from Payless.
CBS reports that Payless invited a group of 60 fashion influencers to come shopping at the pseudo-boutique – which the brand set up in a luxury mall in Los Angeles – and sold them Payless shoes at a 1800% mark-up. (A price that influencers happily paid, by the way). All unconscious participants were reimbursed at the end of the experiment, but the results were still hilarious.
An influencer paid $645 for a pair of Payless shoes ranging from just $19.99 to $39.99. Others marveled at the quality of the shoes and were quoted as describing Payless’s designs as “Simply stunning. Sleek, sophisticated.” Regarding a faux leather sneaker, an anonymous buyer said: “I can tell it was made of high quality material.”
To pull it off, Payless brought in a company called DCX Growth Accelerator, which found the space, built a fake Palessi website, and filled the showroom with gold shoes and models for an authentic feel.
“We said give the campaign a helping hand, something creative that will be stickier, than a high-end retailer would really do,” said Doug Cameron, Creative Director of DCX.
Well done, Payless. Well done.
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