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.