Adidas has launched a response to Samsung's controversial 'Night Owls' campaign as it challenges the lengths women have to go to in order to feel safe while out running.
In a study shared by the sports brand, it was found that out of 92% of women feel concerned for their safety with half being afraid of being physically attacked, compared to 28% of men. Over a third of women surveyed have also experienced physical or verbal harassment while over half have received unwanted attention, sexist comments or unwanted sexual attention while running. Around 53% have also been honked at and 50% have been followed.
Of those who had experienced harassment, women were significantly more likely than men to suffer mental and physical side effects as a result with over half of women experiencing anxiety, compared to over a third of men. Interestingly, the data also showed that 46% of women reported a loss of interest in running following being harassed. The research notes that there is a need to change attitudes when it comes to women's safety when running and stated that alarmingly, only 62% of men recognise the issue while only 18% believe the responsibility lies most with men to help women feel safer when running.
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Based on the data, Adidas launched "The Ridiculous Run", a campaign to drive greater awareness of the realities women face every time they go for a run, and to encourage men to educate themselves on the issue and learn more about allyship.
The video follows women as they go on a run and explores all the little things women have to do in order to feel safe such as wearing only one headphone or wearing loose clothing. It then employs fellow runners, bikers and skaters in protective gear to come alongside women to show just how much is needed for women to feel safe while running.
The ad is a clear parody of an ad by Samsung last April titled "Night Owls". In the ad, a young woman goes jogging in the middle of the night and is seen confidently roaming the streets. The ad received a lot of backlash and was eventually put under investigation with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in UK, according to the BBC. Many went after Samsung for not realising how dangerous it is for women to run alone, particularly in the middle of the night and spoke about how violence against women was on the rise.
While ASA noted that there is a societal issue at play, no action was taken against Samsung at the time. The brand however opted to pull the ad, according to media reports.
Adidas' ad now aims to help make sports more equal and to drive inclusivity by enabling access, equity and safety for marginalized communities. It builds on the brand's ongoing partnership with the White Ribbon charity which focuses on preventing violence against women and girls by educating men and boys.
We believe sport should be equal, and safety is essential to creating that reality. We know from our communities, and our research, that safety is the most discussed topic when it comes to women and running – and unfortunately women continue to be made responsible for protecting themselves," said Sina Neubrandt, Adidas Women's, global communications director. “Addressing this issue is a marathon, not a sprint and our campaign will not solve this overnight, but if we can encourage more men to understand their role as allies, we can create progress and hopefully, change.” she continued.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Adidas for more information.
The ad comes as other companies such as Grab finds themselves in hot water over women-centric advertisements. Recently, Grab’s new ad in light of International Women’s Day has stirred up some discussions around safety of women in cars. Titled When she sleeps, the ad aims to convey Grab’s prioritisation of female passengers’ safety on grab rides. In the ad, we see a few women slumped over, falling asleep, and the voiceover says, “Isn’t it nice when women can travel without worry?” The tagline of the campaign is "Most boring ride ever"
Some netizens pointed out the fact that Grab was celebrating making its rides safe for women and argued that in actuality, safety should be a given. Equating safety to boredom seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way.
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