Swedish fintech firm Klarna has launched an Influencer Council to author a ‘best practice guide for influencers and brands’ advertising online and to ‘shape responsible marketing practices for the financial services sector’.
Klarna’s olive branch follows a run-in with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) at the end of last year, when four ‘irresponsible’ Instagram posts promoting the payment provider’s ’buy now, pay later’ service were banned.
Why is Klarna launching an influencer council?
Klarna is making a statement that it is getting its house in order following its brush with the UK ad watchdog.
The fintech firm is also acting on internal research that found 30% of respondents had acted on financial advice offered by a celebrity, while just 27% of Brits understand the meaning of the terms #ad, #affiliate, and/or #gifted within influencer social media posts.
By forming the new council, Klarna aims to improve transparency for consumers, brands, influencers and advertising bodies in terms of what is permissible in advertising financial products.
The handpicked panel will also provide an insider’s perspective on the optimal interpretation of established guidelines to best serve consumers.
Chaired by the presenter and social media expert Christian Howes, the grouping will include a range of high-profile industry figures, including Rupa Shah, founder of Hashtag Ad Consulting; Lian Hirst, founder of PR and digital agency Trace Publicity; and YouTuber and blogger Amelia Liana.
Together, the council will write a whitepaper containing guidelines for both influencers and financial services brands as well as a readymade toolkit of assets for brands and influencers to utilize on Instagram and other platforms.
Klarna’s move can be set against a mounting crackdown on influencers who fail to declare adverts by the Advertising Standards Authority amid a rise in ’misleading’ promotions, including the use of filters to exaggerate the effects of beauty products.
Klarna has been no stranger to critical headlines either, a question mark hanging over its breezy promotion of ’easy credit’ to millenials, with bright pink billboards and light-hearted advertising messages.
Tackling suggestions that it risks fueling a debt crisis, chief marketing officer David Sandstrom has been at pains to stress the brand’s commitment to responsible lending, with the majority of its income generated by online retailer fees.