Do you know what Bros Icing Bros is? It’s a “game” that is turning the absurd fiction that people would walk around forcing other people to drink the Grossest Malt Beverage on Earth — Smirnoff Ice — into a reality. As far as anyone can tell, the phenomenon started with an original website (Bros Icing Bros Dot Com) which is registered to some guy in Georgia. Yet people still thought Smirnoff had something to do with it. And if they didn’t, what would they think? Well, now we know.
Zsoka McDonald, who is the director of media relations for the British company that owns Smirnoff, Diageo, has been taking quite a few questions from the press lately regarding this “Icing” nonsense. And we finally got around to talking to her, too:
Is Smirnoff behind this Bros Icing Bros business?
Icing is consumer generated. And it’s not generated by Diageo. It’s not a marketing campaign.
So are you guys gonna sue the people who are using Smirnoff’s name and likeness for their Bros Icing Bros “Bro Attire”?
We always look at everything that’s out there and we’ll take whatever actions we consider necessary or appropriate to defend our intellectual property rights. There’s no definitive stance on this right now.
OK, so, uh, you know that this game is basically predicated on binge-drinking and the fact that Smirnoff Ice tastes terrible right?
I can’t believe my life has come to this. I was supposed to go to law school at one point.
I’m sorry? Hello?
Hi, yeah, I’m here.
Do you want me to send you an official statement?
Yeah, please. That’d be great.
The release they sent us:
Icing is consumer-generated and some people think it is fun. We never want underage “icing” and we always want responsible drinking.
That sounds like a denial, but certainly not a condemnation of people drinking illegally! In streets! Bringing their own booze to bars! Drinking before noon at work! This is all actually happening!
But why would they want to address it any further when it’s helping move their product? There’s no reason for Smirnoff to care until someone gets hurt or until they feel like they’re losing money over it. And the end result of this game is, of course, when everyone is carrying around warm Smirnoff Ice to protect/arm themselves, and at some point, the irony blends over into a sincere desire to have a Smirnoff Ice on one at all times. If anything, Smirnoff should be giving the guys behind this thing company stock, or a lifetime supply of booze, or something. Because, realize, it’s not just us writing about this bullshit. The Awl actually conducted a sourced interview with an unnamed publicist — reporting! — on the matter:
A LARGE PART OF THE HUMOR SEEMS TO BE DEPENDENT ON THE FACT THAT PEOPLE FIND SMIRNOFF ICE, UH, UNPALATABLE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
Smirnoff Ice is one of the best-known brands in the world. Fans will continue to enjoy it, regardless of the Icing phenomenon.
Fortune — yes, that Fortune — dignified this ridiculousness, which means, yes, Bros Icing Bros made CNN. More reporting!
Bros are also “alpha consumers,” at least on campus, which may be why the trend spread so quickly. “There are certain individuals that define social structures and drive the decisions other consumers make,” says Dr. Heather Honea, a marketing professor at San Diego State University. “Infiltrating the fraternity or sorority market could be ideal.”
All you need to know is that this is actually happening, and it may soon happen to you, and people are taking this thing seriously. If you ever thought the day would never come when you’d read in the pages of Fortune about a subculture of “alpha consumers” referred to as “Bros” who are binge-drinking Smirnoff Ice in public, you have obviously by now learned your lesson and are coming closer to understanding the general intent of the universe as, at the end of the day, if not some kind of marketing gimmick, a subversive thing meant to fuck with your head. Or a perpetual generator of new, epically stupid ways to get drunk.