Samsung apologises for advert showing woman running alone at 2am

By Rick Kelsey
BBC News

Published
Image source, Samsung
Image caption,
Samsung's advert for the Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds shows a young woman running alone in the middle of the night

Samsung has apologised for a recent advert which showed a woman getting up at 02:00 to go for a run through the streets of a city alone.

The advert has been criticised by some women's running groups and safety campaigners for being "unrealistic".

Samsung has told Radio 1 Newsbeat it was never its intention to "be insensitive to ongoing conversations around women's safety."

"We apologise for how this may have been received," it adds.

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

Women's safety group Reclaim These Streets has described it as "tone deaf" in light of the death of Ashling Murphy who was killed on a run in January.

The 23-year-old's death in Tullamore, Ireland, opened up the conversation about how unsafe some women feel running alone, especially at night.

It sparked the hashtag #shewasonarun as posts and stories were shared about women being harassed while out running.

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It's for this reason Esther Newman, editor of Women's Running magazine and podcast, says this advert is "not representing the truth".

"Women don't run at that time because we are too scared to," she told Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"It's really shocking. I don't know any woman who would be running at 02:00 in the morning. Certainly not in a city."

According to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, half of all women have felt unsafe at some point walking alone in the dark.

And running is no exception, according to the views shared online in response to the Samsung advert with some calling it "ridiculous" and "unrelatable".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Writer Mollie Goodfellow questioned the reality of the film but conceded it was at least "aspirational".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Samsung replied to some of the comments on social media saying: "We can assure you that the meaning for this advert is for all Galaxy customers/viewers to achieve their health and wellness goals on their own schedules".

But one of the main things that Esther Newman points out is that the lead character is running with headphones on.

"Wearing headphones is a contentious point. Most women runners I know don't wear headphones, and that's during the day, because they are concerned about their safety."

Image source, Ester Newman
Image caption,
Esther Newman is editor of Women's Running magazine and podcast

She is keen to point out that her contributors believe "it's a very, very small portion of blokes who make us feel unsafe" but suggests advertisers should focus their attention on how men can make female runners feel more at ease.

'Tone deaf'

Other critics questioned whether enough female production crew were involved in the making of the advert; a point picked up by the women's safety campaign group Reclaim These Streets, which was set up after Sarah Everard's murder.

They told Radio 1 Newsbeat the advert was "totally tone deaf and demonstrates the lack of female decision makers on the campaign, especially in light of Ashling Murphy having been killed on a jog in January."

Cofounder Jamie Klingler added: "It's almost laughable how badly this ad lands."

Run Mummy Run, an online running community, agreed that the portrayal of a woman running at night, in those circumstances, was unrealistic.

They said: "The implication seems to be that a woman has the luxury of this type of freedom with her safety, but sadly this is not the current reality."

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