Just over a year ago, discount shoe brand Payless was emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a leaner store fleet and fewer debts. Now, it’s punking potential customers by pretending its inexpensive shoes are actually luxury items. The Topeka, Kansas-based Payless recently opened a store called "Palessi" where Payless footwear was marked up from near $20 to $640.
Eager fashionista influencers ate it up; many appeared on camera talking up the attributes of the discount shoes. Payless and its agency DCX Growth Accelerator also filmed their shocked reactions to the truth.
The retailer is now running a series of spots in English and Spanish that showcase shoppers’ confusion. The spots are airing on both digital and cable channels.
“Payless has gone to great lengths to create a portfolio of fashionable and high-quality shoes, but perceptions of the brand lag far behind this,” said Sara Couch, who joined Payless as chief marketing officer from Zola earlier this year, in a statement. “The campaign plays off the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion.”