Discount shoe retailer Payless took over a former Armani store in Santa Monica, stocked it with inexpensive footwear, changed the price tags, stuck a “Palessi” sign out front, and invited a bunch of “influencers” to the grand opening. (There’s even a website.) According to Adweek, “Party goers, having no idea they were looking at discount staples from the mall scene, said they’d pay hundreds of dollars for the stylish shoes, praising the look, materials and workmanship. Top offer: $640, which translates to an 1,800 percent markup, and Palessi sold about $3,000 worth of product in the first few hours of the stunt.” The shoppers’ reactions were captured on video, which will be used in Payless ads. (After the big reveal, shoppers got their money back and got to keep the shoes.)
Nicole Cliffe – formerly of The Toast; currently of Slate, Vulture, Elle, and other publications – is one of the best reasons to hang out on Twitter. Yesterday she did a guided reading-slash-explication-du-texte of the December/January issue of Town & Country, and boy was it fun. Be sure to click through to read the whole thread.
IF YOU BUY THIS HIDEOUS BROOCH FOR FORTY-TWO GRAND, SO HELP ME pic.twitter.com/JcTfECT0lH— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) November 28, 2018
(Oh look, T&C is a ’tisser.)
Finally, here are two New York Times stories about Amazon that may give you pause before you hit “add to cart.”
Ever wondered about those “exclusive to Amazon” brands? “Everything on Amazon Is Amazon!”, by John Hermann, investigates the landscape populated by brands like WULFUL, YFFUSHI, WEEN CHARM, Brooke Mille, and Revly, many of which have logos created for a few hundred dollars (or less) in global design contests.
Speaking of weird brand names, Jenny Odell found lots of them while reporting “A Business with No End”: Ipple Store, Bropastures, Litttle Martin’s Drawer, Winkine, Aledma, Mooli, GiGling EyE, Granny Attic Bubble Foam, Aww So Cute adult diapers, and Crispy Beauty, all of which have Amazon storefronts. Many of the brands are registered trademarks. Odell’s investigation into “uncanny ecommerce” – Odell’s term – leads to a strange Christian university, an abandoned psychiatric hospital, Newsweek magazine, and a bunch of bizarrely overpriced products. It’s a great read, with some of the best use of interactive features I’ve seen in online journalism. (Hat tip: Braulio Agnese.)