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The Payless Experiment_15

Industry: Apparel, Clothing & Footwear
Media:TV & Cinema
Style: Minimalism
Advertising agency DCX Growth Accelerator has created a campaign on behalf of budget shoe retailer Payless that aims to dramatically change perceptions of the brand. It documents how Payless created a fake luxury store named “Palessi,” filled it with Payless shoes that normally retail between $19.99 and $39.99 and managed to sell these shoes to fashionistas for prices up to $640.
The campaign launches with a :30 spot in English and Spanish followed by :15 and :06 spots each featuring a real-world fashionista speaking about the superior quality of Palessi shoes and then registering shock upon learning that the shoes are in fact from Payless.
“Payless has gone to great lengths to create a portfolio of fashionable and high-quality shoes, but perceptions of the brand lag far behind this,” explains Sara Couch, CMO, Payless. “The campaign plays off the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion.”
The spots capture fashionistas on camera paying for shoes marked up by not just a small amount but by 1,800%. When they learn that the shoes are from Payless, their faces register not just surprise but shock. The campaign is entertaining in part because of how thoroughly the Palessi branding persuades the fashionistas that the shoes are luxury items worth their enormous price tags and in part because of just how shocked they are to learn that it’s Payless.
The multimillion-dollar integrated marketing campaign is airing now on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and North American cable networks including BET, Bravo, ION, Lifetime, MTV, TBS, Telemundo and USA and will continue to run throughout the holiday season.
“We wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” added Doug Cameron, chief creative officer of DCX Growth Accelerator. “Payless customers share a pragmatic point of view, and we thought it would be provocative to use this ideology to challenge today’s image-conscious fashion influencer culture. The ‘gotcha’ genre works particularly well for Payless because there is a discrepancy between how the influencers see the shoes and how they see the Payless brand.”
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Other credit:Concept: Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan
Executive Producer: David Logan
Assistant Directors: Doug Cameron, Tommy Noonan
Line Producer: Kelly Scott

Production Manager: Jerry terHorst
Production Coordinator: Jonathan D. Ortiz
Production Designer: Ricardo Jattan
Camera Operator: Andrew Sanchez
1st AD: Cody Boessen
Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
Post Producer: Michael Beltrame
Assistant Editor: Joseph D’Amato
After Effects: Christian Matts
Colorist: Lez Rudge (Chimney)
Audio Mix: Peter Holcomb (Sound Lounge)
Online Conform: Scott Bravo (Beast)
CMO: Sara Couch
VP Marketing: Lisa Contino
Creative Services Manager: Cheri Bernand
International Marketing Director: Bernardo Meza
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