Payless Shoe Stores are a dime a dozen. They’re known for having cheap affordable shoes, which doesn’t bode well for famous influencers. But Payless wanted to prove that their shoes are still worthy of costumers who are in higher tax brackets. The affordable shoe store took over the former Armani store in Santa Monica for a pop-up store called Palessi.
Payless stocked Palessi with shoes and boots that you can find at any old Payless store. Typically these shoes retail anywhere from $19.99 to $39.99 but Palessi was selling them for more than triple the price. Shoes at Palessi were selling for between $200-$600.
Through an agency, DCX Growth Accelerator, the store invited groups of influencers for the grand opening of the “high-end” shoe store.
Payless “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” said Doug Cameron, DCX Growth Accelerator’s chief creative officer, told AdWeek. “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.”
People who attended the grand opening of Palessi were recorded praising the high quality of the shoes and saying they would pay upwards of $500 for a pair of Payless sneakers.
Palessi sold about $3,000 worth of shoes within the first few hours of opening. When they were done hyping up the high-end shoes they were told the shoes were actually from Payless. Their shocked faces are worth the hefty price tag.
Payless CMO Sarah Couch told AdWeek the main motivator to pull this stunt was to change the brand’s perception. “The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion,” said Couch.
Don’t worry Payless or Palessi didn’t keep the hundreds of dollars from their hefty sales. The influencers got their cash back and a free pair of shoes.