Payless Shoesource Uses Fake Luxury Brand Prank as Creative Marketing Tool

Payless, Naperville business law attorneyOne of the most challenging parts of owning a business is marketing your product or service in a way which captures consumers’ very limited attention. Most experts estimate that the average American sees an astonishing 4000 to 10,000 advertisements a day. Making your brand or company stand out among the sea of other brands is critical to success.

As a business law attorney, I sometimes feel like I have seen it all, yet I am still surprised by the unique ways that companies will find to reach new customers. For example, a major shoe retailer recently launched a unique marketing campaign with a twist: They pulled a trick on potential customers. Payless Shoesource created a fake luxury brand event and sold their discount shoes to unsuspecting fashion influencers at highly inflated prices. The result may hold lessons for business owners hoping to improve and grow their business through advertisement.

Customers Believed Payless Shoes Were a Luxury Brand

Payless surprised unsuspecting fashionistas with a marketing prank some are calling “genius.” The struggling shoe retailer fabricated a new luxury brand to help show customers that a well-designed shoe does not have to be expensive. Individuals shopping for shoes at the fictional “Palessi” launch event—held in a former Armani store in Los Angeles—were shocked when they found out that they had paid upwards of $600 for shoes that retail for $20 at Payless stores. The company reimbursed customers after telling them about the prank. Videos of customers praising “Palessi” shoes for their craftsmanship and design, as well as their reaction to the prank’s reveal, can be seen on Payless’s YouTube channel and on cable television.

Letting Social Media Do the Marketing Work For You

Payless managed to make what is basically a commercial for their shoe store into an enjoyable video series which is now being picked up by news and social media sites. Through this creative marketing campaign, Payless is allowing social media to do the work of brand marketing for them. Doug Cameron, the chief creative officer of the ad agency behind the prank, explained that Payless “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement.” Payless’s creative marketing campaign teaches us that sometimes deviating from the norm can be the ticket to success.

Contact a DuPage County Business Law Attorney at The Gierach Law Firm

The Gierach Law Firm is no stranger to creative solutions. We provide wide-ranging business law services for current business owners as well as those wanting to buy an existing business. For quality legal guidance, contact our experienced Naperville business lawyers today. Call us at 630-756-1160 for an appointment.




CBS News