Klarna's first major U.S. brand campaign hypes its Swedish origins in absurd scenarios

Push for online payment app is also the first work from new agency Mirimar, directed by Andreas Nilsson

Published On
Jun 30, 2020

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Klarna, the Swedish fintech brand, is highlighting its Swedish origins in its first major U.S. brand campaign, a series of absurdist comedy-style spots from new agency Mirimar.

The Klarna brand—which first shot to marketing fame in Europe with an ad that featured some very smooth Afghan hounds and went on to collaborate with Snoop Dogg—had targeted New Yorkers in a previous campaign but is now rolling out its online payment app and services across the U.S.

To promote it, the brand partnered with Mirimar, established in late 2019 by John McKelvey, who previously co-founded JohnxHannes, as well as as veteran Swedish director Andreas Nilsson, known for award-winning work like Volvo Trucks' Epic Split and spots for MoneySupermarket. 

The ads take footage from Swedish cinema, TV and soap operas and repurpose it into entirely new stories with comically mismatched English subtitles. They end with the words "Klarna. Swedish for smoother shopping." 

A group of Middle Ages teens, a couple from the '50s, and a man of leisure all rave about the ease of using Klarna, at least according to the translated copy. As for what they're really saying, "No clue," says McKelvey. "Just joking, sort of. We're all basically experts in Swedish cinema now, and we can confirm it's all wonderfully odd. The existing dialogue is extremely varied—we've turned everything from old Swedish horror films, soap operas, TV, music, even old Swedish commercials into shamelessly hard hitting Klarna ads. Translation-wise, yes we took liberties with a word, or two...or all of it."

As well as the online films, the integrated campaign features an interactive virtual shopping experience, brand and media partnerships, social media, podcasts and digital activations and promotions. Noble People was responsible for media. Klarna CMO David Sandstrom said the brand aims "to bring an element of entertainment to the shopping experience, so why wouldn’t we deliver more to our audiences in our marketing, too?"

The campaign was created during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Klarna, Mirimar and Nilsson collaborating remotely between New York, Stockholm and Los Angeles. “Creating a global brand campaign during the pandemic was a challenge, but it forced us to think and create differently,” said Luke McKelvey, co-founder and managing director of Mirimar.

"Not sure when I last saw an unusual project like this blossom into such a beautifully absurd campaign," added Nilsson. "Coming up with simple, brilliant and unique ideas like this is hard. Keeping them simple during the course of production is sometimes even harder. Thanks Mirimar and Klarna for sending me down the wormhole of nostalgic clips from my Swedish childhood. It’s been a trip."

Founded in 2005, the Klarna brand has been hugely successful in Europe; it is one of the most highly valued fintech companies in Europe, with a valuation of $5.5 billion. However, it has also come in for some criticism; it has been blamed for luring millennials into debt with its "buy now, pay later" system and this week a U.K. debt charity accused it of encouraging overspending with its loyalty scheme. 


Jun 30, 2020
Client :
Agency :
David Sandstrom
VP of Marketing :
Daniel Jontén
Head of Marketing U.S :
Megan Gokey
Brand Lead :
Joel Sussman
Supporting Brand Lead :
Julia Grönstedt
Strategy Lead :
Olivia Butter
Marketing Manager :
Elle Shaps
Social Lead :
Mary Manzo
PR Lead :
Sarah Ponthieu
Design Lead :
Camilla Birkström
Design Lead :
Matt Wenger
Design Lead :
Pontus Gustavsson
Production Lead :
Leo Holte
Founder & Chief Creative Officer :
John McKelvey
Co-founder & Managing Director :
Luke McKelvey
Creative Director :
Jon Marshall
Creative Director :
Croix Gagnon
Design Director :
Mariola Bruszewska
Head of Production :
Kristine Ling
Digital Producer and Creative Technologist :
Natalie Sun
Group Account Director :
Julia Jahn
Group Account Director :
Lily Waters
Account Director :
Amy Farias
Head of Strategy :
Alexa Calabro
Business Affairs :
Nancy Espinal
Production :
Biscuit Filmworks
Director :
Andreas Nilsson
Partner / Managing Director :
Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer :
Holly Vega
Head of Production :
Rachel Glaub
Head of Production :
Sean Moody
Producer :
Jay Veal
Producer Sweden :
Kalle Wettre
DP :
Lasse Frank
Production Designer :
Editorial :
Arcade Edit
Editor :
Geoff Hounsell
Assistant Editor :
Fernando Raigoza
Assistant Editor :
Harrison Draper
Managing Partner :
Damian Stevens
Executive Producer :
Crissy deSimone
Senior Producer :
Alexa Atkin
Audio Finishing :
Barking Owl
Mixer :
Mike Franklin
Creative Director :
Kelly Bayett
Producer :
Ashley Benton
Music :
Composer :
Fredrik Rinman
Composer :
Malcolm Pardon
Visual Effects :
Lead Artist / Executive Creative Director :
Tim Davies
VFX Producer :
Andrew Cowderoy
Senior Executive Producer / Partner :
Sue Troyan
2D Team :
Steve Gibbons
2D Team :
Robert Murdock
Digital Production :
Creative Director / Co-Founder :
Jake Friedman
Creative Director / Co-Founder :
Scott Friedman
Executive Producer :
Brandon Del Nero
Technical Director :
Pavel Zagoskin
Front End Engineer :
Josh Stearns
Senior Designer :
Andrew Zaozirny
Senior Producer :
Janell Faraj
Media Agency :
Noble People
Social Media and Influencer Agency :
Movement Strategy

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