Payless Opens Fake Luxury Shoe Store and Sells Discount Shoes at Designer Prices
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Payless recently launched a social experiment to remind consumers they’re still relevant for affordable fashion – and they even fooled a group of people along the way to prove it.
The shoe brand anonymously invited a group of fashionistas to the grand opening of a new “luxury” store in Los Angeles called PALESSI and filled it with $20-$40 Payless shoes. The Italian-sounding name and former Armani store location fooled customers into paying top dollar for this low-cost brand.
According to Payless, approximately 60 guests attended the grand opening over two nights, and the shoppers forked out hundreds of dollars on Payless shoes that retailed for $19.99-$39.99 each.
However, Payless returned their money and let them keep the shoes. The shoppers were reportedly also paid a small stipend to attend the event and were recruited from the street and via social media.
To make the experiment more believable, Payless enlisted the advertising agency DCX Growth Accelerator to create the fake luxury store, complete with gold mannequins – along with an online website and Instagram page. Doug Cameron, DCX’s Chief Creative Officer, said the stunt indicates how powerful branding is in today’s society.
“We interviewed all these consumers who said they loved great styles but resented the elite prices that people would pay for industry fashion brands. We had an interesting opportunity to take a cultural position and said, ‘Let’s have Payless gently make fun of all of that and go back to this pragmatist position in culture.’ That seems to have tapped a nerve. The right cultural codes can completely transform the perceived value of just about anything.”
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