Luxe or Low-Cost: How Much Would You Spend on a Pair of Shoes?

December 3, 2018 Victoria Pallien

Consumers broke into a frenzy at Palessi, the newest shoe store in Santa Monica. Targeted for their leverage and knowledge of trends, social media gurus threw down hundreds of dollars at the store for hot, new shoes ranging from sneakers to heels to boots.

With the help of clever marketing and a luxury storefront, Payless was the brand behind Palessi and proved the fashion behind their shoes — or maybe just how excited consumers get over a brand that could be the next big trend.

Influencers who had described Palessi shoes as “elegant, sophisticated and made with high-quality material” were in shock when they found out they spent $600 on Payless shoes. The customers were refunded and kept the shoes, but Payless ultimately won. The brand successfully played a prank to tackle the negative reputation that can come along with discount price tags.

Reactions from individuals in our office:

I don’t shop at Payless because, in my mind, true discount often correlates with poorly made. But this Palessi prank proves that many consumers, myself included, can be prejudiced about products because of the price and brand name. I think this was a smart marketing move for Payless that helps them appeal to the general public, but I’m not sure how I would feel if I were an influencer who paid $500 for $20 boots.

I think it was clever and brought about awareness. It made consumers think, “What’s really worth my money?” But I can’t imagine the influencers appreciated the trick. It may have left a bad taste in their mouths.

I loved this marketing initiative — it was funny and interesting. Payless highlighted that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have fashionable shoes. I like that they used real people to showcase the surprise that Payless quality is great.

Maybe brand names matter and maybe they don’t. Payless is banking on the latter and hoping to emerge as a high-fashion brand at a low-budget cost.

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About the Author

Victoria Pallien

Victoria Pallien is a Marketing Communications Writer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest growing independent agency focused on performance marketing. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into a full-service performance marketing company that services firms within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, automotive, jobs and careers. DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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