"I could tell it's made with high quality material."
Discount footwear chain Payless Shoesource recently set up a fake pop-up store called "Palessi" in a Los Angeles mall and invited a bunch of "influencers" to come through and check out all the luxurious range of items. As it turns out, Palessi was simply an extension of Payless and the "high-end shoes," priced from $200 to $600, were actually readily available at Payless for $20-$60.
As seen in the video embedded below, the influencers were easily fooled. "They are elegant (and) sophisticated," says one shopper. Another hilariously added, "I could tell it's made with high quality material."
According to AdWeek (H/T USA Today), "Palessi" sold about $3,000 worth of shoes within a few hours. Afterward, staffers informed the shoppers that the shoes were actually from Payless. “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.
Payless ultimately refunded the shoppers but plans to use the video testimonials, like the one embedded below, for promotion in commercials and on social media.