Ok, first let's quickly explain the concept. “Icing” is when a friend/coworker/complete fucking douchebag sneaks a bottle of Smirnoff Ice up on their victim (or into the possession/vicinity of) and announces: “You totes got iced bitch/bro/brah!” The victim of the “icing” must then do one of two things:
- Deflect the “icing” with their “ice shield,” which must be a bottle of Smirnoff Ice that they already had in their immediate possession, or…
- If the victim does not posses an “ice shield” they must drop to one knee and pound the entire 12oz bottle of date-rape/shame flavored juice.
For the past week I've heard an alarming number of reports that this phenomenon is spreading like wildfire amongst the employees of Los Angeles creative industry companies, particularly in the music industry and talent agency circles. It seems more than likely to me that this a guerilla marketing tactic, designed to boost sales (the rules of the game certainly support that) and get Smirnoff's awful product into the hands of the young and hip. Just look at these “blogs” and their definitions of the rules:
(via You Got Iced! tumblr)
Consider the amount of detail spent on describing and listing all the variations of the Smirnoff Ice product on the Bros Icing Bros 'Dealing With Bitchin Bros' page. It reads like advertising to me. Some try to argue that the game is based on the fact that Smirnoff Ice sucks (duh) and that 'every bros worst nightmare is having to pound an Ice', and that because of this it can't possibly be a marketing campaign supported by Smirnoff. That's a pretty fucking weak facade for arguing the 'authenticity' of “icing.” People don't realize just how sinister and engineered the world of advertising and brand development is. Take PBR for example.
What scares me more than anything is that it hasn't only spread to the LA-douchebag-Ari Gold-wannabe types working as assistants in mstrm media outfits. No sir, “icing” has gone so far as to cross into the ambiguous borders of hipsterdom.
- On Friday I received a report from a friend working for a LA based music label that there had been a phone conversation with a Pitchfork staff writer. This staff writer had just been “iced” in Pitchfork's New York offices.
- On Saturday, I discovered that the You Got Iced tumblr had posted pics of indie band The National being “iced” at a recent LA show.
- And as you can see from the hipstamatic print of the Yelp “icing” we are not safe, even here in San Francisco.
While I do believe that the phenomenon began organically (perhaps in the frat scene of South Carolina universities, as the Bros Icing Bros founders claimed in an interview with The Awl,) but I am highly suspicious that a huge amount of momentum has been engineered by marketing firms or whatever sinister brand-guru-Wunderkind that Smirnoff has on their payroll. I just have a hard time believing that such a douchetool prank can make it's way from the daily homoerotic mating rituals of Southern frat Neanderthals and all the way into the lives of young East AND West Coast creative industry types, just by being “viral.”
But then again, there's always the theory that AIDS originated in a lower species of primates before making the jump to humans…