Free Hugs Campaign — Learn Social Media By Example

Social Media Campaign Stat Box

: Free Hugs Campaign

: By the people


: Facebook, Youtube, Flickr

: Everyone

: Emotional

: 2004

: Ongoing

Sometimes, a hug is all what we need!

The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. The campaign in its present form was started in 2004 by an Australian known only by the pseudonym “Juan Mann”. Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.

Idea & Objectives:

It all started when Juan came back from London to Sydney after being away for years: “Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me“.

Free Hugs... Anyone?

Free Hugs... Anyone?

So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words “Free Hugs” on both sides. And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning“! Read more at

Buzz Generated:

It is worth mentioning that the campaign spread like wildfire to a degree which caused police and officials to ban it out of fear of public liability.

58,260,213 views on the official Youtube video with 107,359 comments and 231,577 marked as favorite!

Youtube Stats Chart

Youtube Stats Chart

Moreover, the Free Hugs Campaign was featured on different news channels such as TEN News Australia with a total of 866,542 views. It was also featured on reputable shows such as Oprah.

On the campaign’s new Facebook community page, there are 527 people who like the idea of the campaign and its goals.

Opinion & Lessons Learned:

Hug the World

Hug the World

Everyone needs a hug, if not most of the time, then often! However, and although I really like the concept, innovation and freshness behind this campaign, I just feel the need to point out one thing: To me, and many others I’m sure, not every or any hug counts!

So maybe I would support the campaign and be a part of it because it brings people closer together and breaks the boundaries of race, sex, ethnicity, social class and so on, yet, on the other hand, I would not agree that any hug is able to make it all better for me.

However, there are a few valuable lessons which we can learn from this campaign and they are as follows:

  • Take a risk and you may reap: Sometimes, certain great ideas are buried because we feel that they might be too risky and we fear failure. However, in these times we live, innovation is key and the stranger and more unique your idea is, the more you may attract people to it.
  • Global rules: The more global your campaign idea is, the more chances you have for it to spread and be adopted.
  • Sincerity sells: When you are sincere in your message, you don’t only attract attention, you also get and sustain loyalty.
  • Emotional is the new black: In the hard times we are going through, people respond more to emotional appeals rather than other appeals.

To wrap up, allow me to ask you the following: Did you hear about this campaign or participate in it? Do you like it? Do you like its concept?

Looking forward to hearing your feedback down below…

: 5/5
: No
: 0/5

Comments and Reactions

7 responses to “Free Hugs Campaign — Learn Social Media By Example”

  1. Amer Kawar says:

    Two words for you: Love It!

    A simple and sincere movement. I also see one more lesson: The more basic and natural the message is, the easier it is to spread like wild fire.

    Great post :)

  2. Beiruta says:

    It's a great campaign right? I love it as well! Wonder if that would work anywhere or just in certain countries!

  3. Fantastic campaign. I mean, who doesn't like hugs?

  4. […] Free Hugs Campaign – Learn Social Media By Example ( […]

  5. Taking Free Hugs to the next level – “Hug It Forward”…. Track free hugs on a Google and each hug raises 25 cents to build schools in Guatemala. Check it out, it’s pretty neat!

  6. Alhamd9111 says:

    nice to do that

  7. Barry David Butler says:
    Check out my New Song and Video called “EVERYBODY NEEDS A HUG TODAY”. I have many more songs up at youtube for you to check out under ME…Barry David Butler.
    Barry David Butler
    Sebring, Florida

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