Payless recently boosted its brand value in a very brilliant but unusual way. As a discount shoe retailer, the Payless brand like most value brands has a certain perception. Value brands are usually considered cheap especially when compared to other high fashion luxury brands. This is usually the image these brands are going for when they are promoting their brand. But the tradeoff is, it affects the value consumers place on the brand and quality of the brand’s product. Payless was probably aware of this problem and decided to change that with a prank. They played a prank called “The Payless Experiment”.
What is the Payless Experiment?
The Payless experiment is a prank Payless recently played on fashion influencers. The Payless experiment involved the shoe retailer opening a luxury faux boutique called “Palessi”. They invited influencers to the launch of the faux luxury brand Palessi and they asked their influencers opinions on the designer and luxury wares displayed. Many influencers sang the praises of the brand, praising the quality of the products. Words like “elegant”, “classy” and “sophisticated” were used to define the shoes. When they were asked how much they will pay for the products, some were willing to pay as much as $640.The shoes actually retailed for about $20.
The Payless experiment boutique Palessi sold $3,000 dollars, after which the brand informed the influencers that it was a prank. They then returned the money to the influencers and let the influencers keep the shoes. The influencer reactions were caught and have been used for ads. The Payless experiment has since gone viral. The agency behind the payless experiment is DCX Growth Accelerator
Why Payless Created the Payless Experiment
Speaking on the prank, Doug Cameron DCX Growth Accelerator’s Chief creative officer said they wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while also making a cultural statement. He said that they wanted to challenge today’s image-conscious fashion influencer culture, seeing that most of their customers shared a pragmatic point of view. DCX Growth Accelerator wanted to revitalize Payless while fighting against the current “Billionaire culture” and reassert the brand’s pragmatist approach.
The CMO of Payless Sarah Couch also spoke about the Payless experiment, she said they aimed at tackling their perception issues. She said that the prank plays off the “enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers that Payless is still a relevant and affordable place to shop.
The Payless experiment was defiantly a brilliant marketing move and was a huge success for the brand. It definitely boosted the value of Payless shoes while also calling out today’s consumer culture. You can see watch the video below.