Have you ever looked at an item of clothing that costs hundreds of dollars and thought, “wow, I wouldn’t even pay $5 for that”? Or maybe you’re a pro at putting together pieces from Target and making them look like a million bucks.
It’s pretty common knowledge that just because something is more expensive, doesn’t mean it’s better quality, and vise versa. Payless knows what’s up, so they decided to conduct a social experiment surrounding this exact idea–and the outcome was absolutely hilarious.
The job of celebrities and influencers sometimes seems like an endless cycle of different parties and events, and the bigger the brand, the more high profile names will be on the list. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see social media influencers get all dressed up to go to an exclusive Los Angeles party only to find out the high-end shoe store opening they were attending was actually a Payless party? This is exactly what happened to about 80 influencers, who found out about the hoax after the budget-brand shoe store created a fake luxury storefront and stocked it with wildly overpriced Payless shoes.
According to Payless, plenty of the ritzy folks who attended the opening of “Palessi” gave their shoes high regards. In a new series of ads, people can be seen calling the shoes elegant, sophisticated, and classy before being told that the shoes are actually from Payless.
One ad shows the reaction of a woman who said she would have no problem dropping $500 on a pair of their shoes before being informed of the set-up. “Shut up. Are you serious?” she says after realizing the shoes she was ready to drop hundreds on flash by with price tags of around $20.
Payless has announced following the event that they took in about $3000 over two nights, including the sale of a $640 pair of boots. The brand ended up giving these influencers their money back after informing them of the con, though.
“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 said while talking about the campaign to speaking to AdWeek.
Payless has had trouble disassociating from the logic that “cheap price = cheap shoe” for the longest–but the brand has dipped their toes into higher-end ventures before via collaborations with designers like Jeff Staple and Christian Siriano.
If this event is any proof, it looks like the only thing cheap about Payless is their prices.