Payless becomes Palessi to prove point in new advertising campaign

Payless? More like PayMORE, as the discount shoe store turns the tables on people who just want to shop by name only.

Payless commandeered a former Arani store in Santa Monica, California, and filled it with its normal slate of shoes. They normally cost between $20 and $40 at common Payless locations. But at this location, renamed Palessi, the standard shoes came with a designer price of between $200 and $600 a pair, USA Today reported.

>> Read more trending news

In only a few hours, the company sold about $3,000 worth of shoes.

The employees eventually did tell shoppers that the products were Payless shoes, but not before some customers described the footwear as "elegant and sophisticated." Those  shoppers, who USA Today said were real people and not actors, apparently were surprised at the revelation.

Payless didn't keep the marked up money and refunded the purchases to the shoppers, but the videos that were shot during operation will be used as commercials and on YouTube. The shoppers also get to keep the shoes, Fortune reported.

An ad company worked with Payless on the ruse, USA Today reported.

Doug Cameron, who worked on the campaign for DCX Growth Accelerator, said Payless “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement.”

About the Author