Since We’re In A Free Hugging Mood

Long before the Free Hugs Campaign started, I did a little experiment on the streets of Vancouver call National Hug Holiday. This was about ten years ago and my friends and I wanted to see how many people we can get to give us a hug. I would stand at the corner of the very busy Robson and Burrard and tell people that today was National Hug Holiday and ask if I could give them a hug. There’s really no such holiday as far as I know.

The experiment was interesting to say the less. Only about 50% of the girls I asked hugged me. However, 100% of guys gave me a hug. I hope there’s not some secret subliminal message in those results. I’m almost tempted to go back to Robson and Burrard with a Free Hugs sign and see what happens today. I’m sure I can do better than 50% female hugs now that people know about the Free Hugs Campaign. If you don’t know what that is, watch this video.

66 thoughts on “Since We’re In A Free Hugging Mood”

  1. Terrence says:

    Doesn’t surprise me at all that you would get Hugs from men but not Women. Women are taught to be suspicious of people, especially men who are trying to initiate physical contact. Men on the other hand probably just saw it for what it was, some crazy guy on the street who needed to be humored! 🙂

    I’ve actually heard of “free hug” events in other parts of the world. Mostly Europe, which probably has less hang ups about physical contact that the US.

    1. Good point about women being fearful. That actually makes a lot of sense. I’m actually surprised he got a 50% ‘conversion rate’ with the ladies.

      1. Kabatology says:

        Surprisingly in this video this guy got a lot more hugs from Women. John gonna do something. Take a bath in the sea…

    2. 30 Day Man says:

      Good point on the women being suspicious, but surely the men would have thoughts of being ‘gay’ by initiating contact? Surprised me that they were so ‘in to it’

      1. Lol…let’s stick to the subject, “Making Money Online” here, maybe we are getting off topic.

        1. bakkouz says:

          Party Pooper 😉

        2. MoneyNing says:

          Maybe John is working to get back into Google with keywords like huges or ladies 👿

    3. Usually man give a hug as for a joke, women kinda when they feel they do desperately need a hug (and I love those kind of women cough cough).

      Even tho I am a cold bastar*, that video kinda touched me, we do truely lack in humanity (but heck, hugging a total stranger is not the thing for me, especially if my hands are not near my wallet).

    4. Terrence says:

      I think I would be less suspicious than most about someone stealing my wallet or something like that simply because I’ve heard of these “free hug” things before. That being said, yeah, I would probably just check my wallet to be sure right afterwards.

    5. Terrence says:

      I meant to also add, that yeah, I am somewhat surprised by the 100% number. Even if it were closer to 80%, that would be saying something. Getting a large majority of people to do anything is pretty difficult.

    6. Yea this is a good point.

      You’ll notice it seems to pick up once people do it more and the people realize it’s safe.

    7. Michael says:

      After I saw this video about a year or two ago. Some guys at the dorms held a sign that says “FREE HUGS”. It didn’t work so good because the dumbass friends at the sides were laughing their ass off while recording with their cheap digital camera. He did get some hugs from the girls and no hugs from the guy.

      To be successful with the free hug, you need to dress nicely, friendly and none of your friends at the side cracking up. Instead of using a digital camera to record use those thousand dollar camcorders.

  2. Nick says:

    I would be afraid of pick-pocketers…

  3. Nick says:

    I would be afraid of pick pockets and would avoid all eye contact.

    1. Good lord! What a lot of suspicious people 🙄

  4. Eli says:

    Lol, nice experiment. Not bad figures either… 50% girls, 100% men 😛

  5. Very funny. May be girls don’t trust guys that easily. 50% is good number though. Better luck next time 🙂

  6. I see people with ‘Free Hugs’ signs all the time. I usually walk right past them, but maybe one day I’ll give in.

    1. Really? What country do you live in? or what city i meant?

      1. I live in a college town. I believe it’s the same group of people who organize it. I’ve only ever seen them on Fridays now that I think about it.

  7. Thiru says:

    lol..even 50% of hugs are good enough 😛

  8. Etienne Teo says:

    They do it in my country and people just come to you and hug you. Sometimes you just get lucky and a hug is worth a million bucks!

  9. 30 Day Man says:

    Thats an interesting result, when the ‘Free Hugs’ guy was in Sydney (Pitt St Mall) a very busy part of the CBD, all the guys refused hugs but the girls were right into it.

    So yeah, it would be interesting to test it again – albeit in a diff spot.

    1. ian says:

      I walk through that pt st mall where that video was filmed most lunchtimes.

  10. Israel says:

    i dont believe you had this idea 10 yrs ago. Seems like you just didnt know what to come up with for the intro to this post.

    1. drt says:

      You’re a stright shooter! 😀 I just wonder was it a typo for 1 year instead when I read it. 😈 But honestly, when y’all think this free hug campaign first started?

      1. Lol… that’s funny I did think of this idea 10 years ago too… j/k…regardless, the merits goes to who got on YouTube first. I am sure many people had the same ideas.

      2. Neil says:

        This was a campaign that went world wide and was made famous by the sickpuppies song “All the Same” … see here for the complete story

        The way the article reads is John has accredited himself with starting it, which he may well have hugged people 10 yrs ago, but the attached video and Johns effort on “Robson and Burrard” are 2 very different things … which may not have been intentional on Johns part.

        With the latest post covering “credibility” i found it an interesting read though.

    2. MoneyNing says:

      10 years isn’t that long ago…… So even if it was 3 years ago, does it matter? 🙂

  11. Jimson Lee says:

    I can explain why you got 100% on Robson and Burrard.

    That’s considered the West End, right?

    (inside joke for those who live in the LMD or GVRD)

  12. lol… this seems related with below RSSHugger?

  13. drt says:

    Aha, John. I saw they have 19 videos of Free Hug from Vancouver in youtube. Too bad you didn’t take the video of yours. 😈 But gosh, the free hug campaign has spread all over the world from north to south and east to west except for the region were hugging a stranger is against the norm. What a great idea!

  14. Karol Krizka says:

    Haha, I remember them doing something like that at my school to promote some kind of an event or something. It was scary neverthless.

  15. Honestly, that was a really nice video. But yes, it would be really freaky if I encountered someone like that. 😕

  16. Joakim says:

    Great idea.
    Only…. i think if I’d tried this in Norway, I’d be bitchslapped…lol… people are weird..Sceptic to everything..

  17. Inspirational. We all get so uptight in our own worlds that we forget to enjoy life and share. A nice reminder that we should all take ourselves a bit less seriously and share joy with others…

  18. If you do it again, make sure to film it.

  19. Hoto says:

    :mrgreen: hope you get a lot of hugs. have fun and make the world a better place. lol hug it !!! :mrgreen:

  20. NOooooo No more free hug signs!!! Did anyone happen to go to the warped tour last year? About a thousand 14 year old kids had free hug signs on them. I mean they could have at least been creative a little and maybe do a free bj’s sign?

  21. Mark says:

    Interesting.. I will take a free hug! :mrgreen: But, then again I would be a little freaked out as well.. probably run away haha

  22. Justin says:

    It’s only when you’re engaged in a man on man hug and your fellow hugger slides his hand down your back and gives your bottom a gentle rub. 😯
    I’d draw the line there.

  23. Wow John, That was really beautiful. Thanks.

  24. Kris says:

    Cool video. Methinks people in general won’t mind hugging someone with a Free Hugs sign, but if it’s being recorded, some would mind.

  25. Maybe Collin from RSSHugger can use this method and give out huggs! Just carry around a sign with “Free huggs” and below it a small RSSHugger logo… it could work.

  26. Rich Sage says:

    Great video John. Thanks for posting.

  27. I don’t know what it was. I am a man that never shows his emotions. All I care about is money and myself, but that video made me cry.

  28. Kabatology says:

    Very interesting, I’ve never tried this. Great fun 😆

  29. Really great hope to see mroe things like it 🙂

  30. John, I think that people just don’t trust the free things. I will suggest you to try “$9.95 hugs” campaign. the conversion rate will be better I think! 🙂

  31. Joy Smith says:

    I posted this video a while back. Congrats on what hugs you did get..hehe

  32. Haha, sounds pretty random!

  33. James says:

    Who is this Hugs guy and why is he in prison?

  34. CookingDummy says:

    Interesting. Very courageous indeed. There was a Hug Campaign in Hong Kong last year. Check out the video

  35. Very courageous John. There was a Free Hugs Campaign in Hong Kong last year sponsored by McDonald’s. Check out the video.

  36. zengrrl says:

    I love the free hug idea in theory. But as a female who’s had major issues with strange men touching me, I just can’t do the free hugs from a guy I don’t know. I’m guessing a lot of women also have problems with this, which would explain why less women took John up on his offer than men.

    But I know the movement is spreading here in the US, at least. I see posts about it on the various Couchsurfing groups I belong to every week just about.

  37. MoneyNing says:

    Maybe we should hug him now!

  38. Etienne Teo says:

    Just yesterday, i gave a hug to my friend and he said, WTF for? I gave him a stare and told him about this event and he went OoO…i guess he will do it on other girls on the streets as well and tell them the exact same explanation i gave.

  39. Mike Huang says:

    Maybe Mr. Chow needs to be less evil 🙂


  40. Very interesting video, does not have anything to do with RSS Hugger by any chance, would make for an great marketing strategy or something.

  41. Dandruff says:

    I don’t know, but I am not quite sure whether I would be comfortable to hug any unknown guy just walking on the street asking for hugs. Not my cup of tea.

  42. I really liked this video. It was neat. And wow, 10,000 signatures! 😀

  43. This video which I am seeing again after a long time is one of the nicest ever made, at least in my opinion. The music and its lyrics also are absolutely stunning. The free hug movement itself sort of tapered off after its initial craze, but those that got some experience, use more of it than say a hand shake to greet people.

    Go ahead and try again. You do not need to be known. More people know about hugging and the results may just amaze you!

    1. It was also the most watched video on YouTube for a long time. I think it has 20,000,000+ views. You know at least a couple thousand of those viewers launched their own FreeHugs campaign.

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