Recently the budget-friendly shoe company Payless pulled a savage prank on fashion influencers in California. ‘Payless’ took over a former Armani store in Santa Monica, stocked the shelves with their shoes and opened the doors of the pop-up store to influencers under the fake brand name Palessi.

The fashion enthusiasts were made to believe they are shopping from high-end fashion collections, when in fact the store was filled with disguised Payless shoes, with only one alteration – the price. The biggest offer the store scored was a pair of sneakers worth $19.99 which was sold for $640. Within a few hours after opening the store made $3,000.

Although fashionistas were tricked into believing they are buying designer goods, in the end, the customers lost nothing. Payless refunded the money they spent and let them keep the shoes for free.

Palessi turned out to be a big hit, with fashionistas complimenting the quality and style of the footwear. In a brilliant marketing move, Payless used the hilarious ‘gotcha moments’ of their shoe reveals into an ad campaign.

According to ADWEEK Payless CMO Sarah Couch said. “The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion”. With the hilarious stunt, the shoe company proved a high price doesn’t always mean high quality, so why not buy cheaper fashion?

Watch the Payless experiment below

People reactions were mixed. While some praised Payless for a genius marketing strategy


Others couldn’t hold back their harsh words about consumerism