This brand duped Influencers into spending $600 on $20 shoes

3 December 2018, 15:15 | Updated: 3 December 2018, 16:41

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

This is actually so genius.

Payless just pulled off a prank Ashton Kutcher would be proud of. The discount shoe brand managed to trick a group of gullible influencers into spending $600 on $20 shoes for their latest marketing campaign. Payless invited a group of social media's tastemakers down to a swanky shoe store in Santa Monica, California, which was kitted out with the finest boots, heels and sneakers.

This YouTuber is getting dragged for putting 'used' items in her beauty advent calendar.

Moonlighting as bougie new fashion brand Palessi, the Payless logo was stripped from all the products. The groups were then invited to Palessi's "grand opening" and asked their opinions. After admiring the merchandise, many decided the shoes were worth hundreds, not knowing they were all priced between $19.99 and $39.99. "They're elegant, sophisticated," one shopper said, while another added: "I can tell these were made with quality material."

Payless Influencer holding a shoe/Confused Beyoncé meme
These Influencers were duped by Payless. Picture: YouTube/Payless/Pinterest

We know these Influencers love a freebie but they actually paid real money for these shoes. Adweek reported that Palessi sold around $3,000 worth of shoes, including pairs sold for $200, $400 and $600, within hours. The highest price paid was $640, which translates to an 1,800% markup. Kerching.

The clever campaign was part of a "social experiment and cultural statement", according to Chief Creative Officer for DCX Growth Accelerator Doug Cameron, who handled the campaign. "Payless customers share a pragmatist point of view," Cameron said in a statement. "We thought it would be provocative to use this ideology to challenge today's image-conscious fashion influencer culture."

People found it absolutely hysterical that Influencers were being duped and praised the cleverly thought out ad.

Don't cry for the poor little Influencers, though. They eventually found out that they were all involved in the elaborate scam and were given their money back. But sadly, you can't put a price tag on being publicly embarrassed on the internet.