Samsung ad featuring woman running alone at 2am criticised as ‘naive’

Reclaim These Streets joins running groups in calling ad insensitive ‘especially in light of Ashling Murphy’

A Samsung advertisement featuring a woman jogging alone at 2am has been criticised as “unrealistic” and insensitive.

The ad, titled Night Owls, which was promoting the Galaxy Watch4, Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy S22 phone, features a young woman running at 2am, with earbuds in, through dark streets and alleyways. At one point she runs past a man on a bike on a deserted bridge.

While the young woman is running, the voiceover says: “Sleep at night. Run faster. Push harder. Follow the herd. Not for me, I run on a different schedule: mine.”

The advert comes after the death of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was attacked while out running along a canal near Tullamore, west of Dublin, earlier this year, and the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

Jamie Klingler, the co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, said the ad was “completely and utterly tone deaf, especially in light of Ashling Murphy”.

“It’s the Kendall Jenner Pepsi moment for Samsung. It isn’t safe for us to run at night and the last thing I want is for anyone to violate our space while we are trying to exercise. It’s almost laughable how bad this ad lands,” she said.

Klingler said it was difficult to imagine a woman who would feel safe running at that time of night, and that was what made the ad “beyond unrealistic”.

Sahra-Isha Muhammad-Jones, the founder and head of partnerships of Asra running club, a group for Muslim women, said: “There seems to be an unawareness of how unsafe it is for women running at this time. As a woman who is running, it’s not safe already, but as a Black Muslim woman, it’s even more unsafe. This advert felt like what would happen in an ideal world.”

“It can be triggering for women watching this advert and then having to come to terms with what is actually happening in reality to women in this country.”

Muhammad-Jones added that the advert felt like a missed opportunity to spark a meaningful discussion on women’s safety.

“My first reaction was to laugh. The ad is completely unrealistic and totally blinkered,” says Esther Newman, the editor of Women’s Running magazine.

“We have worked for years on the issues of women’s safety when it comes to running and the vast majority of women in our audience have felt unsafe whilst running, from heckling to actual abuse. We know that women often think about stopping running because of this,” says Newman.

“Women feel unsafe when it comes to running at any point of the day. Seeing a woman choosing to run at 2am, with headphones, it’s just ludicrous.”

Newman said that the ad was not empowering and instead was “shortsighted, naive and comical”.

Samsung said: “The Night Owls campaign was designed with a positive message in mind: to celebrate individuality and freedom to exercise at all hours.

“It was never our intention to be insensitive to ongoing conversations around women’s safety. As a global company with a diverse workforce, we apologise for how this may have been received.”


Hibaq Farah

The GuardianTramp

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