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The affordable shoe store, Payless, revealed an advertising campaign that aimed to show the quality of it shoes that was different than most typical campaigns. The store invited fashion-savvy influencers to a posh store in Los Angeles. The catch though was that the store was all fake.
The company bought out the store that used to be Armani and renamed it Palessi. The fake store help a large grand opening inviting many social media fashion influencers to the store. They even rolled out a red carpet and offered champagne to the guests, judging by the photos on their instagram
But during all of this event, the partygoers were oblivious to the fact that the store stocked Payless shoes. Where pumps and boots are priced at $19.99 and $39.99 respectively in Payless, The top offer in Palessi was as high as $640, a 1,800 percent markup.
Many were shocked by that fact but before the influencers knew these were Payless shoes, they were praising the shoes for their elegant and sophisticated look. One partygoer even created a video stating the shoes were high quality and received over 255,000 views.
Overall Palessi sold roughly $3,000 worth of product in the first few hours, with exceedingly more over the experiment.
When it was revealed that the shoes were from Payless, the influencers were shocked. Followed by a fair amount of buyers remorse. But according to the report released by Payless the shoe brand refunded the purchases of those shoes, and even told the influencers to keep the shoes as well.
The main reason for this experiment wasn’t to scam people of their money but to prove two key points. The first point was that the chain wanted to tackle the shoe brand’s perception. The fact that many people believe Payless shoes are second-hand or cheap is debunked by this campaign. This also is good timing as more and more people are buying products through e-commerce stores.
The second point of the campaign was to prove that even in this highly competitive market, Payless is still relevant. They wanted to prove that by providing good quality shoes at an affordable rate much like every other shoe store.
And to expand on that point, the campaign aimed to further solidify Payless as it recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in August 2017. This resulted in closing over 670 stores with only 2,750 in North America and over 3,500 worldwide. This was certainly the break they needed.
The ads the company produced will begin airing on cable television networks as well as on social media during the holiday seasons.