Bargain shoe chain Payless recently took over a Santa Monica retail shop and turned it into Palessi, a luxury store selling their bargain shoes. Then they invited influencers to the store's grand opening to punk them. Shoes and boots that normally retail for $19.99 to $39.99 were presented as designer shoes.
Party goers, having no idea they were looking at discount staples from the mall scene, said they'd pay hundreds of dollars for the stylish shoes, praising the look, materials and workmanship. Top offer: $640, which translates to an 1,800 percent markup, and Palessi sold about $3,000 worth of product in the first few hours of the stunt.
Payless, or "Palessi," did ring up those purchases but didn't keep the money. Influencers got their cash back, along with free shoes. Their reactions caught in the short- and longer-form ads—those shocked "gotcha" moments—are fairly priceless.
Head over to Adweek (login required) to watch the video of the unsuspecting influencers gushing over the "designer" shoes and then watch the videos as a couple of them learn they've been fooled.
screenshot via Adweek