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I'm a well-documented night owl. The Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan even wrote an article (translated some here to English) about my infamous night owl habits.
In that article I speak freely about me running around the cities that I have lived in, music blaring on my headphones while staring at the moon. In the same breath, I explain that I didn't do that in Malmö, where I lived at the time, as I felt unsafe there. I did run around after dark, even shortcutting through the graveyard all the time, but that was 9 pm not 2 am. And I don't go on nightly runs where I live now because there are bears here. Bears and bobcats at night can be pretty scary.
So this ad spoke to me in ways I haven't been spoken to in a very long time. It makes me long for... The past? I guess? Because the present audience does not see this in the same way. Especially women. Women do not run solo these days.
A city, any city, where this is possible again?
I watch this ad, where the woman freely runs, and I feel truly envious - like perhaps her headphones are lighter than mine, she seems to be on a cloud - but do I want her headphones or her running freedom?
Don't get me wrong, I'm still running around after dark in cities that I'm familiar with, like when I'm in Stockholm. It's never the dark that puts me off. That would be unmanageable in the city that I come from, Kiruna, where it can be practically "dark" six months of the year. To add to that, some cities are far more beautiful when they are sleeping, but that requires a city where the bad guys are sleeping, too. Cities seem a lot less safe than they used to be, all over Europe these days, from when I was young and jogged around London, Amsterdam and Berlin at night.
Big cities like Manhattan that "never sleep" may still have areas where a 2 am run is possible, I don't know. I haven't been there in a decade. But I did run around Manhattan in the middle of the night all the time when I lived there in the early 90s and early 2000s.
I had to jog to my job at 4 am when I worked early shifts there. Perhaps Manhattan is the only large city where this is still something one can do as a single woman, with headphones blaring?
Is that why creatives who work (and likely live) in Manhattan wrote this, oblivious to the fact that this isn't possible in a lot of cities around the world? Perhaps.
Aside from that nagging melancholy of missing running outside in the middle of the right, I think the music and imagery of the ad are gorgeous. Love the owl shots.
Update 29th. Samsung has received complaints regarding this ad. It's being criticized for being unrealistic. Also reported by Campaign UK; "Women’s right groups have pointed out that 23-year-old Ashling Murphy was killed on a run in January in Tullamore, Ireland."
Created by: Ogilvy New York