Samsung ad slammed as ‘tone deaf’ for showing woman running alone in London at 2am

·2-min read
(Samsung Galaxy/PA) ((Samsung Galaxy/PA))
(Samsung Galaxy/PA) ((Samsung Galaxy/PA))

A Samsung advert which shows a woman jogging alone through the dark streets of London has faced calls to be banned amid claims it is “disrespectful” to woman’s safety.

The advert called Night Owls depicts an athletic woman checking her watch at 2am before putting her in headphones and running out into the deserted streets of London.

She jogs as a large owl watches over her running past a skateboarder, late night revellers and a ballerina practising her stances.

Eventually, a man on a BMX begins to follow her across a bridge performing tricks by her side over an acoustic rendition of Seven Nation Army.

Social media was awash with criticism for the advert in the wake of the deaths of Sarah Everard and jogger Ashling Murphy who was killed as she exercised by a canal in the afternoon.

Jamie Klingler, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, said: “It’s so tone deaf, especially in light of Ashling Murphy’s death. It’s disrespectful. It isn’t safe for us to run at night.”

The Samsung Galaxy TV advert which shows a woman running alone at 2am (PA)
The Samsung Galaxy TV advert which shows a woman running alone at 2am (PA)

Referring to a scene in the ad when a man on a bike rides up behind the woman and they interact, Ms Klingler said: “That’s the bit that really made me wince. It’s almost laughable how bad this ad is.”

Ms Klingler said the ad “absolutely should be pulled”.

Esther Newman, editor of the Women’s Running magazine and podcast, added: “I can’t imagine any woman wanting to run at that time, anywhere, certainly not in a city.

“It seems like a really naive advert. In theory it’s a lovely idea (to be able to run at 2am). In reality it’s not happening.”

Ms Newman said 70 per cent of the runners the magazine had surveyed had faced issues around safety.

She said: “The very idea that woman would go out running at 2am and be wearing headphones is absolutely ludicrous. I don’t think the ad is dangerous because I don’t think any woman would see it and think, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that’.”

Journalist Alisha Grauso added: “The fact that this is a UK ad set in London shows a shocking lack of awareness on @Samsung‘s part considering, you know, the horrific murder of Sarah Everard. Just tone deaf from top to bottom.”

Samsung defended its advert as it said it had a “positive message in mind”.

Their statement read: “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.”

The Standard has reached out to Samsung for further comment.

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