Klarna irresponsible Instagram influencer campaign banned by UK ad watchdog

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an Instagram influencer campaign from Swedish payments firm Klarna, deeming the campaign messaging to have been ‘irresponsible’.

Klarna, which enables consumers to ‘buy now, pay later’ on products from a range of retailers, ran a campaign with four influencers in April and May, encouraging people to use Klarna to purchase clothes and beauty products and, in turn, ‘lift their low mood’.

The ASA received a complaint about the campaign from Labour MP Stella Creasy, who argued that the Instagram posts were irresponsible.

Klarna argued that the key theme of the ads “was to take care of one’s self during the COVID-19 lockdown period” and that the focus was on “improving one’s mental health and staying entertained during the lockdown period”.

The four influencers – Bradley Harper, Claire Menary, Aisha Master, and Yasmin Fatollahy – each supported Klarna’s claims, stating their posts focused on how the products could improve mood, rather than shopping with Klarna.

However, the ASA disagreed and deemed that the ads were in breach of rule 1.3 (social responsibility) of the CAP (Committees of Advertising Practice) Code. As such, the ads can no longer appear in their current form and any future advertising “must not irresponsibly encourage the use of Klarna’s deferred payment service, particularly by linking it with lifting or boosting mood”.