This Discount Shoe Store Fooled A Bunch Of Influencers Into Paying Designer Prices, Bless Them

Scam today, before today scams you.

Payless Shoes pulled off the scam of the century, and it was all for an advertising campaign.

The affordable footwear brand filled an old Armani store in Los Angeles with their products, called themselves ‘Palessi’, and invited influencers to their launch event.

According to the video the company shared on Thursday, influencers at the launch event were willing to pay as much as $600USD for a pair of Payless shoes that sported the Palessi label.

Throughout the series of videos, influencers are asked what they think of the Palessi shoes. They praised the shoes as being “elegant, sophisticated” and evidently “made of high-quality material”.

While some think the scam wasn’t cool, most people are recognising it for what it is: an entertaining marketing campaign that also highlights just how swayed people are by effective branding.

Payless even set up an Instagram account for their fake luxury brand.


While I’m sure the influencers learned something from the whole experiment, there might be a lesson in it for Payless as well. Vox is right – if your products get more love when they’re marketed and packaged decently, why not incorporate some of those changes into your approach permanently?

Shopping is just as much about the experience as it is about the products themselves, and endless bargain shoes on shelves don’t exactly attract the eye. This marketing campaign shows that young people like Payless Shoes, they just don’t like Payless stores.

It also shows that if something sounds Italian enough, people will assume it’s designer. Accordingly, please keep an eye out for my upcoming brand of culinary-inspired handbags,  Calzoné.

Tell The Gen Z In Your Life: This Brand Is Offering Paid Internships For Wannabe Influencers

This is surely a sign of the end times.

Speak to any Gen Z, and there’s a good chance they’ll tell you they want to become an Instagram influencer, and then laugh as you experience the five stages of grief over the fact that this is now a job young people want.

Since 85% of Gen Z uses social media to learn about new products, and 40% of teenagers say their favourite YouTuber understands them better than their real friends, brands are increasingly tapping into the influencer market to advertise their products on social media, instead of relying on more traditional ads.

This is where OPPO, a phone company, saw an opportunity. They’ve announced an ‘Influencer Internship‘ that involves travelling around Australia and New Zealand, taking photos with the latest OPPO phone, sharing photos to OPPO’s social media channels, and learning from ‘established influencers’ Milly Bannister, KOTravellers, Nicole Millar and Libby Kay, none of whom I’ve heard of.

The successful intern will travel to somewhere in Australia or New Zealand six times over the course of three months, take photos for Instagram, and update Instagram stories. This sounds a lot less labour-intensive than most internships, but if everyone’s dream is to work as an influencer, maybe this is what work will look like in the future.

While it is a legitimate paid internship, it’s also a fantastic marketing ploy. I hadn’t heard of the brand before this stunt, and now I’m writing about them.

OPPO’s Managing Director told ten daily:

“We can see that in the not so distant future we will employ and train full time influencers, in much the same way you would any employee.”

On the one hand, I’m happy to see interns getting paid, but on the other hand, this has made me very depressed about the state of the world. I might go into more detail in my next thoughtful Instagram caption.

There's An Apartment In New York That Exists Just So Instagram Influencers Can Take Photos In It So Clearly Society Is Doomed

What better way to take up valuable New York real estate?

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported on a marketing agency’s bold vision: a penthouse apartment designed solely for Instagram influencers to use in their photos.

Village Marketing has set up a 2,400 square foot penthouse apartment in SoHo to be a millennials’ dream: millennial pink couches, white walls, gold accents, and even a rooftop deck.

It was opened in August, and according to the 35-year-old founder of the marketing agency, is designed to serve a need: many influencers ‘struggle’ to find picturesque locations to take the photos they need to promote their sponsors.

It’s a tragedy that nobody has reported on this very real struggle until now.

The marketing agency recently invited influencers to use the apartment, although all of the influencers included in the New York Times article are fairly low-level, imo. No Kardashians here! I guess that’s because upper-level influencers can afford to redecorate their own homes to meet their strict Instgram influencer standards.

Everything about this is so incredibly bleak. We all know social media is a performance, and none more so than Instagram, but taking photos in the bed of an apartment that a marketing agency has set up specifically for that purpose is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever heard.

There’s a reason YouTubers have such dedicated and loyal fans: people feel like they’re getting a glimpse into their lives with their videos, however edited they might be. There’s none of that with so many Instagram personalities, no relationship-building or sense of fan community; it’s all hollow and driven by an interest in outward appearances. The only things a certain class of influencers have in common are their aesthetics and an interest in making money for every post they make.

It’s all a little too Ingrid Goes West for my liking.

One of the influencers admitted that Instagram creates a false reality, but said that “having a place like this, for me, is not about pretending your life looks like something else. It’s about having a space you need to get your work done.”

It seems slightly suspicious to me that the space you use to get your work done looks exactly like the spaces every other influencer uses to get their work done, until you can’t tell where one space ends and another begins.

It also starts to become a problem when young people who aren’t as aware of how constructed and artificial Instagram is start to aspire to the carefully curated perfection they see on their feeds. At that point, it stops being harmless and starts being a problem. See: all of the young women buying skinny tea and elasticated corsets because Instagram influencers (including the Kardashians) told them to.

We all know Instagram is fake; I just wish influencers would own up to that more often instead of perpetuating the lie.

(Header photo courtesy of Neon)

Pop-up Channel

Follow Us