Samsung apologises for 'shocking' new running advert - Women's Running

Samsung apologises for ‘shocking’ new running advert

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  April 29, 2022

Samsung have apologised after their advert depicting a woman running alone at 2am received backlash

Tech giant Samsung has apologised after their recent advert, highlighting their Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds earphones, received backlash. The advert, depicting a woman running alone at night in a large city and wearing headphones, was called ‘shocking’ by Women’s Running editor Esther Newman, and was criticised by numerous campaigners and women’s rights activists for being ‘unrealistic’.

Samsung told Radio 1 Newsbeat on 28 April that it was never its intention to “be insensitive to ongoing conversations around women’s safety.

“We apologise for how this may have been received,” the brand added. “The ‘Night Owls’ campaign was designed with a positive message in mind: to celebrate individuality and freedom to exercise at all hours.”

Women’s rights groups pointed out that, just three months ago, school teacher Ashling Murphy was killed while out running, sparking widespread use of the hashtag #shewasonarun.

A statement from Esther follows:

“It’s heartening that Samsung have released a conciliatory statement following all the news stories yesterday featuring its ad showing a woman running on her own at 2am wearing earphones. Media reports that Samsung has apologised for its ad, but carefully reading the statement shows that this is in fact not what they’ve done at all. “We apologise for how this may have been received” is simply apologising for our reaction and not for the ad itself.

“I spent a lot of time yesterday talking to national newspapers, radio stations and TV programmes about what the ad meant and most of the interviewers asked me if I thought it dangerous. And over and over again I said that it wasn’t, but now I’m not so sure.

“When we run, we – consciously or unconsciously – adjust and adapt ourselves, our routes, our plans in order to create a safe space. We wear certain clothes, we choose to run with friends, we consider our routes, and – yes – the timings of those runs, and as we run our senses are high as we navigate the people ahead and behind us, monitoring them for any movement or word that might indicate they’re not friendly.

“Samsung clearly did not speak to any women runners in the creation of this ad, and fundamentally do not understand our daily experience. Yes, I’m sure many runners are exceptions to the rule – I’m sure there are women out there bemused by the noise surrounding all of this, thinking that they run in the middle of the night and it’s fine. Which is great for them. But, whether you run at 2am or not, we must all consider the needs of the many – and the truth is that many of us would not feel at all comfortable running in the dark on our own for fear of our own safety.

“Think especially of the women who have just started running, for whom one comment from a passer-by on their appearance or performance can have them rushing back home and binning their trainers for good: how are these women supposed to react to an ad that depicts an experience that is so far removed from reality it might as well be science fiction.

“As a work of fiction it’s not dangerous in itself. But the danger here is that it highlights once more the vast chasm between women’s actual running experiences, and the perception of them from outside. It shows how big brands, advertisers, and the media think about us running – that we are empowered, and that we are in control. And because this is what they think, this is what they publish, and then it becomes a belief that is saturated in the national consciousness. It doesn’t show the heckling, the intimidation, the abuse, the violence, the killing. Which means that when we, as a community, come together to campaign for safer streets and for a safer running experience, our complaints fall on deaf ears – because we don’t need safer streets as we’re all out there running at 2am with our headphones in.”

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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