If, over the past month or so, a friend has sauntered up to you and posited the line, "Ready to get iced, bro?" don't worry. He is neither a hockey devotee nor a sudden frat boy aficionado. The poor sap has just come under the influence of the Smirnoff Icing craze. This is when a Bro (who can also be a lady, and in fact is funnier when it is) presents another bro (in as creative fashion as possible) with one Smirnoff's sickly milk-white bottled Ice abomination. The presented bro must then take a knee and chug until the calorie bomb is empty. Everyone from Brooklyn butcher extraordinaire Tom Mylan to Agency Spy's Matt Van Hoven has fallen under the spell. But Thursday, the Web site the started the whole real world meme, Brosicingbros.com, went dark.
Visits to the site now return only a message saying: "We had a good run bros."
The Web site's shutter came at the behest of Diageo, Smirnoff's parent company, and proves that the trend was no Web hoax perpetrated by a savvy marketing dept. Or does it? Isn't that exactly the course a savvy marketing department would pursue?
As Foster Kamer of Village Voice's Running Scared sussed in May after obtaining an internal W+K memo, Icing is the sort of thing that could unite everyone from "Williamsburg hipsters to lonely suburban housewives," and the agency knew it.
When asked by no less that the New York Post if the practice was meant to be ironic, Brooklyn butcher Tom Mylan, who's Meat Hook brethren had frequently been forced to Ice, said, "I've lived in Williamsburg for the past seven years. It's hard for me to know what's ironic and what's not anymore. I just know it's funny."
In his farewell address on "The Week In Advertising" Thursday AgencySpy's Matt Van Hoven willingly took an Icing from bro Katy Kelley of Carrot Creative (albeit in puppet form).
Clearly the idea had taken hold, and probably already outlived an all too tenuous welcome. Hipsters are fickle and the housewives had begun to question the safety of the stunt.
So, wouldn't a W+K or Diageo, seeking to show just how authentic and genuine the embrace of its product really is, seek to pull up stakes and let the meme breath once it's left the nest?