Payless tricked fashion influencers into paying $600 for $20 footwear

By EB

Thanks to a viral ad campaign, Payless pranked fashion influencers, by convincing them to pay more than 10 times as much as the original price.


  • The discount shoe retailer branded itself as “Palessi,” and filled a former luxury shoe store with its own shoes.

  • They had priced their regular shoes with an additional zero to the end.

  • With some help of a marketing agency, Payless (or Palessi, in this case) had invited fashion influencers to have an exclusive session at the new store.

  • Palessi sold shoes worth more than $3000 within the first three hours.

  • Anyways, in the end, the influencers were given their money back and got the shoes for free.

Bonus! You can see buyers being fancy about “sophisticated looks” and “quality material” of the shoes, on the videos released by the company.

The amusing, yet educational, social experiment by Payless

Although it may seem like a fun social experiment, there is a lot to learn about the power of marketing.

In this article of what you can learn from Apple’s marketing, we have discussed the importance of customer experience in marketing. And, we have talked that cut-through price competitions have no (or negligible) effect in sales.

This theory is well proved by this social experiment by Payless.

Sell the experience, not the price

People like to buy stuff, but they don’t want to be sold to. If you carefully look at the videos released by Payless, you can see how the buyers are naturally intrigued to make a purchase.

Obviously, it is not the product that triggered them. The experience has triggered almost all the fashion influencers who paid more than 10 times the actual product price.

Additional Readings: Don’t sell the product, sell the experience