The late Aughts were an unhinged time for bro culture. “Entourage” was winning Emmys, Spike TV was still a major network, and “icing” was all the rage. The gag, codified as it was on slapdash websites like Bros Icing Bros, was simple: Hide a Smirnoff Ice for your bro to find, and he’d have to get down on one knee and chug it.
As the craze caught momentum, bros would employ Wile E. Coyote- and Roadrunner-style methods in their icing, one-upping each other with the elaborate nature of hiding and revealing Smirnoff Ice bottles. Before Instagram, when YouTube was in its infancy and Tumblr was at its peak, the antics were well documented via internet blogs and footage exchanged through BlackBerry Messenger. What started as a silly college prank soon became a viral phenomenon.
But even at the time, icing’s social and commercial impacts were a bit complicated, and its legacy is a fascinating example of how the early social internet shaped (and scandalized) the beverage alcohol business. Many would argue that any press is good press, but no company likes losing control of their product’s narrative. And that’s exactly what happened to Smirnoff with Smirnoff Ice.
Joining Taplines today to discuss icing’s indelible, low-ABV legacy is Brandon Wenerd, the publisher of BroBible.com, who covered the sensation in real time as the aughts came to a close. Tune in for more.