Maybe some of you have already heard of the “social media trend/drinking game” known as Bros Icing Bros. I just heard about it this past weekend.
But before I really had a chance to explore this situation, the Bros Icing Bros website went down and doesn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon. The message on the site says, “We had a good run, Bros.”
Here’s what Bros Icing Bros entails (it should come as no surprise that this started out as a frat boy game): surprise one of your bros by giving him (or hiding someplace he will find) a Smirnoff Ice malt beverage. He then has to go down on one knee and drink it… I’m sorry, chug it all at once unless he happens to have a Smirnoff Ice on his person. Then the joke is on you – you have to take a knee and chug both of them. The reason this game works at all is that it’s somewhat of a punishment to have to chug all that terrible Smirnoff Ice.
A Bro can’t refuse an Ice. If a Bro refuses to drink an Ice he is immediately shunned. He can never Ice anyone, ever.
Keith managed to spend some time on brosicingbros.com last week, so I asked him to fill me in on what he learned.
Rebecca: What were some of the finer Bros Icing Bros points?
Keith: Sadly, I didn’t get to read all of the BrosIcingBros.com went down, but I did see some Icing tales for the ages. Like the guy who super-tricked his bro by filling a Smirnoff Ice bottle with vodka, basically tricking his bro into chugging eleven shots of vodka (one of the best things you can do for your bros is try to kill them). Or the (apparently common) practice of strapping a bottle of Smirnoff Ice to your leg, for surprise-block reveal. Or a (pretty clever, really) Icing involving hiding a bottle in a birthday cake.case studies before
Note: this last Icing trick was performed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who, along with his girlfriend, presented Blake Ross, Facebook’s Director of Product, with the birthday cake. You can watch the not-so-outrageous video on Gawker. This is what they do at Facebook headquarters when they’re not screwing up the design, changing up where to go to see the events you’ve been invited to and messing with your privacy settings.
R: You were actually Iced this week by one of your bandmates… what was that experience like?
K: Pretty hilarious, since I totally didn’t see it coming. I guess technically, it wasn’t an according-to-Hoyle icing, since the bottle
was pulled out of a bag instead of hidden. But close enough. And I guess the experience left me qualified to say that Smirnoff Ice
tastes almost exactly like Fresca.
Note: this qualifies as an official Icing – surprising your Bro with an Ice is just fine.
R: Now the website just has a message about “We had a good run, Bros.” Why do you think it was taken down?
K: I honestly don’t know. But I can think of a few scenarios:
1) The person who ran the site, seeing the wave of Internet attention that Bros Icing Bros is getting, decided that it will never be any better than it is right now, and made the Seinfeldian decision to go out on top.
2) The person who hosted the site started to get worried about legal liability from things like the replace-the-Ice-with-vodka hijinks. Doubly so if the whole thing was actually cooked up/hosted by Smirnoff’s ad agency.
3) Pressure from Smirnoff to knock off a game that basically pointed out that Smirnoff Ice is so lame that people will only drink it if tricked by their bros. Once again, doubly so if the whole thing was actually cooked up/hosted by Smirnoff’s ad agency.
R: Why was it just aimed at Bros? Why not Hos Icing Hos?
K: Well, running with the assumption that there was corporate ad money behind this, I guess you can see why they wouldn’t want any “icing hos” blowback. On the other hand, there was a codicil on BrosIcingBros.com that identified anyone who refused to play along with an Icing as a “bitch.” Make of that what you will.
Also, if the Zima experience taught us anything, it’s that college-age dudes want nothing to do with “girly” sweet malt liquor drinks. So it makes sense to target them as an untapped market. Presumably, the hos are already keeping the Smirnoff Ice brand afloat by buying it and putting Jolly Ranchers in it.
R: How would you rank this as a marketing campaign?
K: Numbers don’t lie:
# of Smirnoff Ices I’d consumed before the Bros Icing Bros campaign: 0
# of Smirnoff Ices I’d consumed after the Bros Icing Bros campaign: 1
Where I come from, we call that a success.
R: Will Bros Icing Bros live on without the website to rally around or is it a dead game?
K: Oh, this horse is out of the barn. It’s frolicking around the meadow on its own initiative, hiding bottles of malt liquor for its bros.
R: Would you drink Smirnoff Ice of your own volition?
K: You know, the Ice wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that great either. I wouldn’t go out and buy it, that’s for sure. Except maybe for revenge-Icings on the sons of bitches who colluded in my Icing.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that once major media outlets took note of the Bros Icing Bros phenomenon, the official site disappeared. There was an article in the New York Times, mentioned on the Omaha World Herald site, the Huffington Post and an article on CNN Money.com. That’s a little too much attention.
Luckily for all of us, Bros Icing Bros lives on on… where else… YouTube.
Here’s how some Southern guys do it:
And then there are some California Bros who… kind of… stumble through it: