Case Study: Why Pay Interest?

When you think about financial services, “interesting” might not be the first word that springs to mind. There’s a natural – and expected – confusion about products, services and fees. But as a fintech disruptor brand, Klarna actually is interesting. Very interesting. 

Working closely with the Klarna UK team, we were briefed to devise and launch a bold, multi-channel campaign that would: 

  • Set Klarna apart from traditional banking. We do things differently with our products and for our customers – so of course we do things differently with our marketing. 
  • Increase awareness; this was tri-fold. Awareness overall, awareness with key audiences and awareness ahead of competitors. 
  • Counteract myths, dispel confusion and silence critics. Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ products are interest and fee-free, allow you to snooze payments and offer extra security when shopping online – so we wanted to get this across clearly.
  • Showcase the benefits of Klarna products vs other financial services products, such as credit cards. We’re always on the side of shoppers – and we want them to know it.

Of course, there was a long lead time with plenty of planning space to get things going. Only joking – the campaign was to launch immediately.

Keeping brand synergy strong and staying true to our objectives were absolutely key to the success of this campaign, but not without a healthy dose of disruptive fun.

Riffing on one of Klarna’s ‘Pay later’ product benefits – no interest – Klarna decided to do the opposite of most marketing campaigns, and tell people we actually didn’t want their interest. We knew this subversion would grab attention and help drive the message home.

Direction finalised, we worked with our partners in the Klarna marketing team and partner agencies to quickly turn around creative across multiple paid and owned channels. Campaign bursts in May & July 2021 saw Klarna taxis driving around London, print ads, OOH sites and organic and paid social content all getting tonnes of interest (unlike Klarna itself during that time, wink wink). 

Creative taglines like ‘No thanks, old banks’, ‘Why pay the old way?’ and ‘This ad doesn’t want your interest’ coupled with Klarna’s quirky branding helped deliver the message in a punchy, instantly accessible way. 

Additional hero elements included: 

  • Digital OOH at London Piccadilly Lights – designed, delivered and live in a just few days 
  • Wraps and ads in publications including the Evening Standard, The Telegraph, Grazia and TimeOut
  • Consumer input in creative elements, to show the hype wasn’t just by and for ourselves. For example, featuring tweets from Klarna lovers, extolling the benefits of Klarna ‘Pay later’ services, in Tube ads
  • Cultural references to get the facts across. Buy now, pay later customers in the UK saved £76 million in interest charges last year – so we made it location-specific. This included ‘that’s enough to buy Liverpool a new centre back pairing’ and ‘that’d buy 19,587,628 pints of cider’ (obviously these were for Liverpool and Bristol!) 
  • Jumping on trending memes with Klarna specific messaging to help organic travel on social.For example, the huge success of the England team in the Euros gave the chance to drop classics like ‘Extra time. No Penalties’ (in reference to Klarna’s ‘Snooze’ payment function) during game play. We also used the Southgate / Kane hugging meme format, with Kane tagged as ‘Klarna’ and Southgate tagged as ‘Shoppers who don’t want to pay interest’, delivering product benefits in an engaging and relevant way.

Partner agencies also ran activity targeting policy and regulation decision makers during campaign periods, to encourage action around bringing pay later regulation up-to-date.

In a nutshell, telling people to pay us no interest really got them paying interest. The right kind. Or, as Mark Godfrey, Head of B2C Marketing Klarna UK, puts it:

“As the campaign grew in scale and stature it transformed into something far more powerful than a quick, targeted, burst campaign and achieved a significant shift in awareness of Klarna and our offering.”


Not content with that, we over-delivered on all the KPIs, with just weeks from brief to launch, including: an overall increase in awareness of 5%; a bump up three places to 4th place overall for unprompted awareness – placing ahead of all competitors; millions of impacts from Piccadilly Lights digital OOH; over-performance vs target of between 20% and 40% for paid social metrics and LOADS more. But don’t just take our word for it – we scooped Gold in the Best Consumer category at this year’s CMA awards, making this an award-winning campaign. 

We’re proud to work with partners as ambitious and creative as we like to be – so if you’d like to chat to us about your engagement goals, drop us a line on

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