SANTA MONICA, CA – Can you tell the difference between designer shoes and designer shoes in disguise? Turns out, L.A. social media influencers can’t.
The budget-friendly shoe store Payless duped trendsetters with a fake pop-up store called Palessi in a Santa Monica mall. The influencers were invited to attend the grand opening – and attendees ended up spending up to $600 on a pair of Payless shoes masked as designer.
“They’re elegant, sophisticated,” one shopper said.
“I can tell they’re made with high quality materials,” another shopper said.
“I would pay $400 or $500,” a woman said in a TV ad, holding a pair of “Palessi” sneakers.
Then, comes the big reveal. “Shut up, are you serious?” she said in shock.
The Payless stunt even included a modern, sleek website and an Instagram account.
About 80 influencers attended over two nights, according to Payless, and bought a total of $3,000 worth of shoes. One shopper spent $640 for a pair of boots – an 1,800% markup from their actual price, according to news station KSAT.
Once Payless successfully pulled off their stunt, they returned the money to the influencers and let them keep the shoes. Payless told KSAT the influencers were paid a small stipend to attend. The pop-up shop was meant to remind shoppers that Payless carries quality, affordable shoes.
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“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 told Adweek.
To get a pair of Palessi, um, Payless shoes of your own, visit the Payless website.
Main image via Youtube screen grab