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The Real Story Behind Bros Icing Bros

Ladies, I apologize in advance.

Hopefully you laughed a little during the bomb also known as Sex & The City 2. Because with the July arrival of the LeBron Sweepstakes, the World Cup, and the return of Jersey Shore (in Miami this time), the Summer of 2010 is poised to become the Summer of Bro-dom. And the official drink of the Summer of Bro-Dom is (unfortunately) Smirnoff Ice.


There are certain Internet fads you wish you could fast-forward life until they are over. RickRolling was especially painful. The Hitler Hates The Jonas Brothers / The Minnesota Vikings memes, while hilarious, are thankfully on their last legs.

The latest, and by far, the vilest of the Internet memes is Bros Icing Bros. The game is simple. If a friend surprises you with a Smirnoff Ice, you “got iced.” By rule, you must get down on one knee and chug it. To be clear, there are no winners here. You simply have to drink more Smirnoff Ices you never wanted to drink in the first place. Trust me, no bro is happier after a Smirnoff Ice than he was before it. Yet by a quirk of fate, Smirnoff is rewarded for making such a dreadful libation. You could always quit playing, but that’s the move of a Faux-Bro (See also: Rodriguez, Alex).

As the august Teddy Broosevelt explained:

Bros Icing Bros Etiquette and Rules

From those twin pillars of Bro-dom justice, the rules diverge based on apartment and cruelty of roommates. At the Rivergate apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the game has unfortunately taken on more of a guerrilla war tone. The fridge is the only Holy Land. Beyond that, all’s fair in love and icing. Smirnoff Ices are hidden, not just presented. Any pile of laundry or especially chubby cat could be “landmined” with a lurking Smirnoff Ice. You can be iced whenever. No time, too early (see: 7:13 AM last Monday). No event (final exam, wedding, investor meeting), too important.

My roommate, let’s call him Uncle Benny, works in Private Equity. I am in school. It’s a veritable New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals match-up, and Uncle Benny has a George Steinbrennerian desire to win no matter the price. When I got back from a long day of classes Tuesday, I checked the deli downstairs and saw all the six-packs of Smirnoff Ice were sold out. I could only sigh. Uncle Benny had been shopping, again.

I live in fear. The left pocket of my favorite pair of jeans is now forever molded to the shape of a Smirnoff bottle. Security often stops me while leaving Duane Reade or Chipotle until they see the suspicious bulge is a lukewarm bottle of malt-liquor and realize not even shop-lifters would stoop so low. I carry a Smirnoff Ice on me at all times. Even when I go run. Make that, especially when I go run.

It gets worse. As New Yorkers can attest, the past two weeks have been excruciatingly hot. Keep in mind these “Ices” typically sit around in boiling Manhattan apartments for days on end. So what’s it like to drink a four day old, warm Smirnoff Ice? It’s perhaps most aptly described by the following clip from “Anchorman”:


Bros Icing Bros is not a campaign by Smirnoff Ice. Smirnoff’s marketing team only wishes it could be so clever. Instead, Bros Icing Bros was the brainchild of a couple meatheads at the fratiest of all Southern colleges: The College of Charleston (Think: walking, talking J-Crew magazine with a Southern accent).

The frat boys set up a website, where users can upload pictures of the more spectacular ices. They posted a couple icing videos on Youtube and Facebook. From there, Bros Icing Bros spilled up the East Coast before hitting the New York City epicenter. Investment bankers especially got a kick out of it. An icing was recently reported at Goldman Sachs.

Typically Internet memes fizzle out within weeks. What’s worrisome is Bros Icing Bros is only escalating. Social media expert Sandy Smallens believes, “We're gonna see more of this. Now that everything can be delivered through digital media, what's the last authentic thing? Spontaneous experience.” The frat boys, Smallens said, are at the vanguard of the next phase in social media: real life. Smallens believes memes such as Icing Bros will become more potent in the future because they build a feedback loop between Internet you and real world you.

In translation, it took a while but frat boys finally figured out the social media game. Meatheads could always ruin your day off-line, now they can do it online as well. Smallens believes corporations will now follow suit.

In translation, don’t forget your ice block, bro!


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