Downy wanted to challenge Canada to show support for the Boys & Girls Club of Canada by showing a simple display of affection: a hug. In return, Downy was prepared to donate $1 for each hug, both in real life and within Facebook. On September 3rd, Downy asked Canadians to converge on the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto and attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most hugs given in 8 hours. Setting the record would unlock the donations that had built up in the process, both at the CNE and on Facebook.
The solution on Facebook took the form of a lightweight wall to wall post sharing engagement. Users could send an individual friend a Bear Hug, or they could send up to five friends a Group Hug, both of which would appear on their friends' walls. Users could then share the experience with their circles on Facebook, via a newsfeed post, an on Twitter as a tweet with a tracked link. At the event, Hug Ambassadors doled out hugs and drove consumers to Facebook to 'donate' more love to their friends, while Downy street teams also pushed fans to the Facebook experience throughout September.
During the National Hug Challenge Cloud9 ran from September 2nd to December 1st, resulting in over 800 hugs posted to friends Facebook walls, 10,000 visits, and an average of nearly 5 hugs sent to friends over the duration of the program. The Downy page on Facebook grew by 257,000 during the duration of the Cloud9 custom social gifting experience.