Chances are you’ve seen their advertisements online or elsewhere. First, they featured Swedish film footage with pink subtitles extolling the virtues of shopping with Klarna. They’ve progressed star beauty/social media influencer Bretman Rock to explicitly explain that Klarna is an “all-in-one” shopping app. Well, now it seems Klarna has applied their “all-in-one” approach to gaming with a series of shoppable livestream events. On Twitch, viewers can shop for the latest in gaming gear while watching various consumers compete against pros, even participating interactively in gameplay. For better or worse, Klarna seems to have taken live stream shopping to the future.
It’s no surprise that Klarna would seek to capitalize on the gaming demographic. As with most things esports- and gaming- related, Klarna saw a huge boost in sales for video game brands on their app in the U.S. following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, according to an article from Eventmarketer.com, in March in the U.S., the Swedish company saw “a 117-percent increase in spending on compared to the previous month.” The question then became how best to reach this potentially-lucrative market. The answer: a highly-tailored event campaign.
This past October, on the 27th and 29th, Klarna officially launched their “Playing for Keeps” campaign. These events, which were live streamed via Twitch, pitted a group of participants against pro gamers SypherPK and Kitty Plays. According to Event Marketer, the “select group of 25 consumers… could win the top-of-the-line gaming gear they were using right out from under them, piece by piece.” This obviously raised the stakes for the rounds of Fall Guys and Fortnite in which the consumers were pitted against the pros. On top of that, the event was interactive for viewers/prospective shoppers by way of a curated “shoppable gaming wish list created by Klarna… [With] exclusive promo codes dropped into the livestreams from retail partners.”
Beyond an entertaining premise, the events continued to raise the bar by featuring musical artists Snoop Dogg and Lil Yachty as drop-in guests who would help even the odds for the consumers competing against the pros. Upping the ante on the viewer participation, those watching the live stream could vote on distractions that would be deployed against the pros such as “dropping a bomb of confetti on them” and “turning their monitors into rotating screens.”
Klarna’s Playing for Keeps website is well-designed and effective at conveying that their brand is interested in selling to gamers. With taglines like “ From the smoooth[sic] shopping people, comes a new way to play” and “Klarna is shopping on easy mode,” it’s clear what the shopping app is going for. As Klarna’s head of U.S. marketing, Megan Gokey, told Event Marketer, “A lot of brands are engaging in the gaming community, but they’re really just sponsoring content on Twitch. And for us, we wanted to do something that was different.” All things considered, the Playing for Keeps events appeared to have been just that.
At the moment, future Playing for Keeps events have yet to be announced. However, as seen through the brand’s mercurial approach to their marketing strategy and willingness to be different, there’s a good chance that the future of some gamer-centric Klarna events may look entirely new. As Gokey stated, “this campaign leaned into that idea of shoppable entertainment and our ongoing commitment to creating these unexpected immersive experiences that celebrate what our consumers are passionate about.” The keyword here is “unexpected.”
With Klarna’s radical approach to online shopping spilling over to a whole new type of shoppable, livestream events, it might not be too much of an overstatement to say that Klarna has changed the game.