PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Payless’ recent marketing campaign tricked fashion influencers into paying significantly more for a pair of affordable shoes. The retailer created a new store, called Palessi, as an experiment to see just how much fashion-forward people would pay to have high-end shoes.
Influencers, professionals that inspire consumers to make purchases based on their expertise, were invited to attend a grand opening for “Palessi” — a new high-end designer.
Those that attended the exclusive party paid between $200 and $600 for Payless shoes that typically run up to $40. Payless, as Palessi, sold $3,000 worth of shoes in hours within the opening.
“I would pay $400, $500,” said one influencer. “People will be like ‘where did you get those?'”
Other influencers remarked on the look of the shoes, the quality of the material, and were overall impressed by the Payless shoes.
The discount shoe company “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” Doug Cameron, DCX Growth Accelerator’s chief creative officer, told Adweek.
Their goal was to remind customers that the retailer is a place to shop for affordable fashion that also looks great.
“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 CMO Sarah Couch also told Adweek.
While the purchases were real, influencer did get their cash back after paying hundreds and they also left with free shoes for their trouble.