Payless to Palessi

Payless to Palessi: People will pay more base on a brand Name


A social experiment was conducted by a discounted shoe store called Payless.  The store hired an ad agency to bring together Los Angeles fashion influencer to see if they would buy there very affordable shoes if they thought it was from a high-end brand.

Payless built a fake luxury store. Avant-garde sculptures and displays filled the store. A full team of sales associates was hired.

Then, Payless store shelves were filled with shoes. This was a record opening store from Payless history.Payless to Palessi

Turns out, it was so convincing that this online influencer was sold on the craftsmanship of the shoes.

Besides, people will pay more if they know that what they are buying is from a brand. Without knowing the brand itself they flock on pairs to purchase those discounted shoes.

Those influencers are in a mad dash to get the displayed shoes. Some commented about the great quality since the shoes came from Europe.

Leather shoes

Tennis shoes

In addition, the brand itself is has a Fancy name Palessi. That sounds right.

We can ‘t deny that shoes are well made.  Apart from this, it is evident that there is a whole range of design that suits the taste of fashion influencers.

Payless to Palessi

Now, let’s go back to the social experiment.  After setting a fancy fake store in the mall, the company also called the so-called fashion influencer of Los Angeles.

At this time, tags of the shoes were replaced from Payless to Palessi. On the opening, everyone talked about how fancy the set up was.

These are words of praise coming from the influencer that attended the opening of the pretend luxury brand shoes store.

  • They are European very upscale
  • For me to experience this as an Italian designer, it’s amazing
  • I could definitely wear this to like a Met Gala Dinner 
  • They are elegant and sophisticated
  • It was classy

Pink pumps

They are willing to pay top dollars just to get the shoes. The original price of the shoes from Payless retails only for a range of $25 to $40.

On the other hand, the luxury brand prices average is $500 in retail. That is more than 400% of the price increase. Also, the people who bought the shoes don’t care.

Palessi Experiment

This provocative social experiment of Payless provided an insight that we really don’t care about the quality. We only care about the brand and what is in it for us.

Importantly, the influencers were shocked to know the truth at the end. Altogether, shoppers were refunded after the social experiment plus got the shoes for free.

Payless says that they just want to change peoples perception on what luxury should cost. They are trying to emphasize the perception influences on buying habits.

This discounted shoe outlet has been in the market since 1956 but people still don’t treat them seriously because they are not a luxury brand per se.

Blue pumps

The reaction of People towards the experiment

  • Says a lot about the credibility (or lack thereof) of these “online influencers” and self-titled “intenet gurus”. 99% of them are just walking, talking salespeople – no different than the store attendants you’d find in a shopping mall

  • Wow, this was pretentious, embarrassing yet hilarious. These so-called fashion “experts” claim to know premium quality while flaunting their credentials to validate their knowledge and stroke their egos

  • How is this possible? Payless shoes are made like crap. Poor materials, poor craftsmanship. If you’ve ever held a shoe made by a luxury shoemaker, you can tell it’s premium. Stitched, not glued. High-quality leather, not plastic. These “influencers” clearly don’t know what they’re talking about

To conclude, the decision of buying expensive shoes is quite a dilemma. Undoubtedly, it’s still our choice in the end.


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