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Klarna launches influencer council as Brits turn to social stars for ‘financial guidance’

By John Glenday | Reporter

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March 2, 2021 | 4 min read

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.

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Klarna launches influencer council as Brits turn to social stars for ‘financial guidance’

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.

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  • 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.

Anything else?

  • 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.

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