Payless had some fun at the expense of influencers recently.
With some help from advertising agency DCX Growth Accelerator, the discount shoe retailer filled a former Armani store with its own shoes and added an additional zero onto its regular prices.
It then invited fashion influencers to get an exclusive first look at the new brand.
What did they call it? Palessi, of course.
Naturally, the influencers fell hook, line, and sinker for the experiment.
A series of videos released by the retailer showed their guests waxing lyrical over the “sophisticated” footwear, which they could tell was “made with high-quality materials.”
Some even paid $200, $400, and even $600 for shoes that are normally sold for $19.99-$39.99.
Palessi sold more than $3,000 worth of shoes during its first three hours of opening.
However, the company was generous enough to return the cash spent by the victims of its prank, and even let them keep the shoes for free.
Cameras also caught the priceless reactions of said victims when they were told the shoes were not designer and, in fact, came from Payless.
According to AdWeek, these reactions will be broadcast in a series of adverts on cable networks and social media.
Payless “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” Doug Cameron, chief creative officer of DCX Growth Accelerator, told the trade publication.
“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 added.