Klarna Gets Very, Very Swedish in Loony First Ads for the U.S. Market

'Smoooth' moves from Mirimar, Biscuit Filmworks

Scandinavian silliness runs wild as Swedish payments app Klarna launches its first major U.S. ad campaign via new creative shop Mirimar and Biscuit Filmworks director Andreas Nilsson.

Designed for maximum sharing, the work breaks this week, anchored by a bunch of :30s with wacky English subtitles that don't match the scenes unfolding on screen from old Swedish TV shows and films.

Here's a tuneful example, with some amorous meatball in a sweater and jeans leaning against a boxy wood-paneled '70s television set, serenading his lady-friend:

Swedish Song

As he croons, the captions read: "A tremendous light filled the room. And three small beings appeared. They whispered into my mind. 'Shop online with Klarna,' they said. Then they picked up our dog and flew away. But they gave me the Klarna app. So I guess you could say we're cool. And that's where I was last night."

A likely story! (Though it makes more sense than Ingmar Bergman.) The spots close with the kitschy line, "Klarna: Swedish for smooother shopping."

Here are sooome mooore highlights:

Swedish Meow
Swedish Horse
Swedish Horse
Swedish Coffee

"Strategically, and comically, it made sense to lean into Klarna's quirky Swedish roots," Mirimar founder and creative chief John McKelvey tells Muse. "We watched hundreds of hours of Swedish film to find the perfect combinations of footage with dialogue that is very clearly not about an online shopping app. Writing shamelessly hard-hitting Klarna subtitles gave us a good comedic hook, but also allowed us to talk about the benefits of Klarna in a way that people actually enjoy watching. Hopefully."

He adds: "The foreign language, humor and genuinely odd Swedish content ensures the films stand out in people's social feeds."

Though relatively unknown in the U.S., Klarna claims more than 1 million active monthly users on these shores for its app that provides customers with payment services and deals at retailers such as H&M, Sephora, Timberland and Abercrombie & Fitch.

As online shopping surges, driven in part by the pandemic, Klarna hopes the campaign's self-conscious quirkiness will help it stand out in a crowded field, says client marketing chief David Sandstorm.
 
"Swedish for Smooother Shopping" marks the debut of Los Angeles- and New York-based Mirimar, recently established by McKelvey, best known for his award-winning work as one-half of JohnXHannes, working on brands like Montefiore, Squarespace and Expensify, including the latter's 2019 Super Bowl commercial.

CREDITS

Client: Klarna US

CMO: 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 Leads: Camilla Birkström, Matt Wenger, Pontus Gustavsson Production Lead: Leo Holte

Agency: Mirimar - Los Angeles

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 Editorial: Arcade Edit
Audio Finishing: Barking Owl Visual Effects: Kevin

Digital Production: Wildlife
Media agency: Noble People
Social media and influencer agency: Movement Strategy

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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