In a recent Samsung advertisement, a woman is seen running alone at 2am, sparking criticism and accusations of being “naive” and “unrealistic.” The ad, titled “Night Owls,” was promoting various Samsung products and featured a young woman jogging through dark streets and alleyways, wearing earbuds. This ad comes at a time when the safety of women while running has been a prominent issue, following the tragic deaths of Ashling Murphy, Sarah Everard, and Sabina Nessa. Critics argue that the ad fails to acknowledge the very real risks that women face when running alone at night, and many feel that it missed an opportunity to address the issue of women’s safety in a meaningful way. Samsung has since apologized for any insensitivity and stated that the ad’s intention was to celebrate individuality and freedom to exercise at all hours.
Samsung Ad Featuring Woman Running Alone at 2am Criticised as ‘Naive’
Violence Against Women and Girls
Violence against women and girls continues to be a pressing issue in society, with recent cases highlighting the need for increased awareness and action. Tragic events, such as the deaths of Ashling Murphy, Sarah Everard, and Sabina Nessa, serve as somber reminders that women’s safety is still not guaranteed. As discussions around women’s safety gain momentum, it is crucial to examine how media representations and advertisements contribute to the overall discourse.
Criticism of the Ad
Samsung recently faced backlash for an advertisement featuring a woman running alone at 2am. The ad, titled “Night Owls,” promoted their Galaxy Watch4, Galaxy Buds 2, and Galaxy S22 phone. In the ad, a young woman is shown running through dark streets and alleyways wearing earbuds. The voiceover encourages viewers to “Sleep at night. Run faster. Push harder. Follow the herd. Not for me, I run on a different schedule: mine.”
Critics argue that the portrayal of a woman running alone at 2am is unrealistic and insensitive, especially in light of recent events. The advertisement fails to acknowledge the very real safety concerns that women face when running alone. The timing of the ad also adds to its insensitivity, as it disregards the fear and anxiety that many women experience in public spaces, particularly during nighttime hours.
Reclaim These Streets Response
Reclaim These Streets, an organization dedicated to creating safe public spaces for women, joined other running groups in calling out Samsung’s ad as tone-deaf and insensitive. Comparisons were drawn to Kendall Jenner’s infamous Pepsi ad, which drew criticism for trivializing social justice movements. Concerns were raised about the violation of women’s spaces and the potential for the ad to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
Jamie Klingler, the co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, highlighted the disconnect between the ad’s portrayal and the reality of women’s experiences. Klingler expressed that it is not safe for women to run alone at night, and the last thing they want is to have their space violated while they are trying to exercise. The ad was dismissed as laughable and tone-deaf, failing to understand the very real fears that women have and failing to address the need for safer environments.
Asra Running Club Response
The Asra Running Club, a group for Muslim women, also criticized Samsung’s ad for its lack of awareness about safety issues. As a woman who runs, Sahra-Isha Muhammad-Jones, the founder and head of partnerships for the running club, stated that running is already unsafe for women, but even more so for Black Muslim women. Muhammad-Jones felt that the ad portrayed an ideal world that does not reflect the lived experiences of many women.
Furthermore, the ad was identified as potentially triggering for women who are already aware of the dangers they face while running. Muhammad-Jones emphasized that instead of perpetuating unrealistic ideals, the ad could have been an opportunity to spark meaningful discussions about women’s safety and the need for societal change.
Women’s Running Magazine Editor’s Opinion
Esther Newman, the editor of Women’s Running magazine, found the ad to be completely unrealistic and blinkered. Having worked extensively on issues of women’s safety, Newman recognized that many women feel unsafe while running due to harassment and abuse. The ad’s portrayal of a woman choosing to run alone at 2am with headphones was deemed ludicrous, failing to empower women and instead appearing naive and comical.
Newman highlighted the importance of addressing women’s safety concerns throughout the day, as women face potential threats regardless of the time. She expressed disappointment that the ad failed to tackle the serious issues surrounding women’s safety and called for advertisements to be more responsible and aware of the realities women face.
Samsung responded to the criticism by stating that their intention with the “Night Owls” campaign was to celebrate individuality and freedom to exercise at all hours. They acknowledged that their ad may have been received insensitively due to ongoing conversations about women’s safety. As a global company committed to diversity, Samsung apologized for any harm caused and expressed a commitment to learning from the criticism.
Their response emphasized that the ad aimed to send a positive message of individuality and freedom but unintentionally overlooked the sensitivity of the topic. Samsung’s willingness to apologize and take responsibility for the unintentional insensitivity demonstrated a commitment to understanding and responding to societal concerns.
Recent Cases of Violence
Recent cases of violence against women further emphasize the urgency of addressing women’s safety concerns. The deaths of Ashling Murphy, Sarah Everard, and Sabina Nessa serve as painful reminders of the dangers women face when navigating public spaces. These cases have sparked conversations and calls for action to create safer environments for women.
Importance of Women’s Safety
The issue of women’s safety while running is of utmost importance. Many women feel unsafe when running alone, particularly in secluded areas or at night. The fear of harassment, assault, or abduction restricts women’s freedom and limits their access to physical activity. It is essential to recognize that certain groups, such as marginalized women, face additional challenges and specific safety concerns.
Meaningful discussions and actions are needed to address these safety issues. This includes providing well-lit running paths, increasing law enforcement presence in vulnerable areas, and educating the public about respecting women’s spaces and boundaries. By actively working towards safer environments, society can empower women and ensure their right to participate in physical activities without fear.
Apology for Reception of Ad
Samsung acknowledges the potential harm caused by their ad and takes responsibility for the unintended insensitivity. The company expresses its regret for the way the ad may have been received and acknowledges the ongoing conversations about women’s safety. As an organization with a diverse workforce, Samsung apologizes for any offense caused and commits to learning from the criticism.
The apology reflects Samsung’s willingness to listen, understand, and grow. By recognizing the potential harm caused and committing to improve, Samsung demonstrates its commitment to being a responsible and sensitive global company. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of considering different perspectives and experiences when creating advertising content.