Little did customers know, there was no such designer. Payless dressed up a rented location to look like a high-end establishment with bright fluorescent lights, shoes lined in glass shelving, statues, and even champagne served to the guests. Regular Payless shoes were marked up to be worth hundreds of dollars. And as they predicted, influencers bought them. But not only did they buy them, they LOVED them. Read more about the prank here.
Although Payless didn’t keep prices like this or keep the show going on for long, they did gain a lot of attention from their prank. The company that created the campaign used the term “cultural hacking” when describing their approach. It brought Payless back into the cultural discourse of the fashion and shoe industry and got people talking. It was a great feat for distribution of a message because they were creative and concise with their execution. They acknowledged their problem of only being recognized as “cheap” and faced it head on. They kept their target audience in mind the entire time, knowing that influencers would be intrigued by the expense and the class that they were now presenting.
The outcome of Payless’ campaign was that it had their audience rethinking the quality of Payless for the better and it got their name out into the world again after lacking that publicity for a long time.