By Emily Price
November 28, 2018

Shoe retailer Payless recently had a bit of fun at the expense of some fashion influencers in Santa Monica, Calif.

The retailer recently took over a former Armani store, stocked it with Payless merchandise, and then invited fashion influencers to attend a party celebrating the store’s opening. But there was a twist: they thought they were attending the store opening for a new high-end designer, Palessi, not looking at shoes from Payless.

Influencers who attended the party paid between $200 and $600 for Payless shoes that are traditionally priced between $20-40, and many of the guests commented on how their purchases were “sophisticated” or “made with high-quality materials.”

The goal was to remind customers that the retailer is a place to shop for affordable fashion. Payless is not traditionally a brand that influencers associate with high fashion.

More than $3,000 worth of shoes were sold during the store’s first few hours of opening. Those purchases, and the reactions when the buyers discovered they were buying Payless shoes, will appear in a series of ads for the retailer on cable networks such as Lifetime and Bravo as well as social media, AdWeek reports.

And as for all those purchases: the influencers who made the purchases won’t actually be charged for those buys, but they did get to keep the shoes.

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