Critics Call New Samsung Ad 'Tone Deaf'

Company apologizes over campaign that features a woman jogging alone at night
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2022 5:18 PM CDT

A new Samsung ad is under fire as "tone deaf" in regard to women's safety, and the company has apologized to its critics, reports the BBC. The spot called "Night Owls" features a woman going for a run in the middle of the night alone, the point being "to celebrate individuality and freedom to exercise at all hours," said the company. Critics, though, say the spot defies reality. "Women don't run at that time because we are too scared to," is how Esther Newman, editor of Women's Running magazine, puts it.

"We apologize for how this may have been received," said the company after the blowback surfaced. The ad has been particularly criticized overseas given the murder of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was killed in Ireland while on a solo run in January, per Irish Central. The killing inspired the hashtag #shewasonarun in which female runners shared stories of harassment. It's “completely and utterly tone deaf," says Jamie Klinger, founder of the group Reclaim Our Streets, per the Guardian. "It's almost laughable how bad this ad lands."

When it first surfaced, the ad got a largely flattering writeup in AdWeek, but the reception since has been overshadowed by the criticism. A post at More About Advertising reports the spot was created by an all-male team at Ogilvy New York, which has not commented. "It does seem pretty shocking that, given women’s experience of exercising—or even just walking—alone, no one stopped to think about the premise of this ad," writes Emma Hall. "Samsung’s ad looks good, but consumers want more than that these days." (More Samsung stories.)

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