Samsung Ad Girl Running Alone

Samsung ad showing woman going for 2am ‘offensive’ and ‘unrealistic’ say campaigners

A Samsung advert showing a woman going for a run at 2am has been described as “offensive” and “unrealistic” by runners and women’s rights campaigners.

The ad shows a young woman waking up in the middle of the night and going for a run alone through the streets of London while wearing Samsung ear phones. She is seen running past people and smiling, and heading down deserted, dark streets to the slogan “Night Owls. Your Galaxy. Your Way”.

But runners and women’s safety group Reclaim These Streets highlighted that running at night isn’t safe, and described the advert as “disrespectful” particularly following the death of Ashling Murphy who was attacked when she was out for a run.

The 23-year-old’s death in Tullamore, Co Offaly, sparked vigils across Ireland and beyond in her memory, as calls were made for a change in attempts to tackle gender-based violence. It led to the hashtag #shewasonarun as women shared stories about being harassed while out running.

Anna Birley, co-founder of women’s safety group Reclaim These Streets, said:

“I think that women should be able to go running regardless of what time or day or night it is. “But the reality is that’s not the case, women don’t feel – and too often aren’t – safe out after dark.

“It’s an unrealistic advert to say the least.”

“Women who experience sexual harassment or violence in public spaces will look at this and remember their own experiences for sure,”

Recent figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest one in two women felt unsafe walking alone after dark in a quiet street near their home, or a busy public place.

Two out of three women, aged 16 to 34, experienced one form of harassment in the previous 12 months, said the ONS in August 2021.

A total of 44% of women in that age group said they’ve experienced catcalls, whistles, unwanted sexual comments or jokes, and 29% have felt like they were being followed.

The campaign also launched just 13 months after the death of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and killed by a then-serving police officer. She was walking home through Clapham at around 9pm at the time.

These high-profile cases – particularly Everard’s – pushed women’s safety to the top of the news agenda

Responding to the criticism 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.”