Andrew Garfield Learns How to Hug Properly in This Off-Kilter PSA About Empathy

Yeah, it gets a little awkward

The non-profit organization Youth Mentoring collaborated with Los Angeles-based creative duo Armen Perian and Rosie Geozalian on a project that, if nothing else, dried up some of Andrew Garfield's vanishing free time. 

It's called "Hug It Out!" It's a spoof of 1990s educational PSAs, and it promotes hugs as a tool for increasing compassion with one another. 

The tone of the spot treats hugs as a new invention, with Garfield and costar Jo Hart as awkward test subjects learning how to hug amid corny narration, stock music and deliberate continuity errors. In the few moments where the spot isn't consumed by nostalgia, it tells viewers that longer hugs build empathy between people. 

This all leads up to Youth Mentoring's "Hug It Out Challenge," which is basically the Ice Bucket Challenge but with hugs. OK, so I can handle the parody ad, but I don't know if they thought the "Hug It Out Challenge" through. Prolonged physical contact is great, and humans do need it, but it's the kind of vulnerability that doesn't translate well to social media.

The concept is so ripe for abuse that I'm amazed someone thought Americans were mature enough for it. Those "Hug It Out!" sweatshirts, though? I'll take an adult large.

CREDITS

Writers: Armen Perian & Rosie Geozalian

Director: Armen Perian

Art Director: Rosie Geozalian

Cinematographer: Elias Talbot

Producers: Armen Perian & Andrew McKenzie

Production Designer: Jennie Poundall

Actors: Andrew Garfield & Jo Hart

Production Company: Pomegranate Films

Post House: Work Editorial

Editor: Arielle Zakowski

Motion Graphics: Brandon Carrillo

VFX Artist: Steve Dabal