How mad would a person be if they got all dressed up and rode through Los Angeles traffic only to find out the high-end shoe store opening they were attending was actually a Payless party? About 80 social media influencers found out when the budget-brand shoe store created a fake luxury storefront and stocked it with wildly overpriced Payless shoes


According to the brand, plenty of the ritzy folks who attended the opening of "Palessi" gave their shoes high marks. In a new series of ads, people can be seen calling the shoes elegant, sophisticated, and classy before being told that the shoes are from Payless. 

One ad shows the reaction of a woman who said she would have no problem dropping $500 on a pair of their shoes before being informed of the set-up.  

"Shut up. Are you serious?" she asks as the shoes she was ready to drop hundreds on flash by with price tags of $20 or so. 


The joke even extended to a Paleesi Instagram account, sharing photos and tagging the influencers without every breaking its luxe kayfabe. 

Payless says that they took in about $3000 over two nights, including selling a $640 pair of boots. The brand gave the influencers their money back after informing them of the ruse, however. 

"The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion," Payless CMO Sarah Couch said while speaking to AdWeek about the campaign.

Payless has had trouble shaking the "cheap price = cheap shoe" stigma since Hakeem Olajuwon was selling Spaldings. However, the brand has dipped their toes into higher-end circles (Airwalks were once considered cool, after all) via collaborations with designers like Jeff Staple