How much would you pay for a pair of Payless shoes?
If you attended the beleaguered retailer’s recent Santa Monica event, the number is $600, according to Adweek.
The discount shoe chain occupied a former Armani store, called it “Palessi” and stocked it with heels, boots and sneakers onto which they slapped inflated price tags ranging from $200 to $640.
Their shoes normally fetch between $20 to $40.
They then invited group of influencers who collectively dropped $3,000 on Palessi shoes within a few hours and crowed about the shoes’ workmanship and style.
In one video, a man said, “I could tell it’s made with high-quality material,” while a female shopper called a heel “elegant and sophisticated.” She is then told that the shoes were actually from Payless. She falls silent for a moment and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
The chain pulled off the clever hoax with the help of DCX Growth Accelerator, whose chief creative officer Doug Cameron told Adweek that the AI was intended to “push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement. Payless customers share a pragmatist point of view, and we thought it would be provocative to use this ideology to challenge today’s image-conscious fashion-influencer culture.”
The Kansas-based company — which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2017 — refunded partygoers their money but kept their testimonials for commercials that will run on television through the holidays.
By Kirsten Fleming