It might be the new Rickroll. It might not. But a new Internet meme has popped up that could be worth a second look: "icing," an unusually inane and relatively harmless fraternity drinking game centered on the consumption of Smirnoff Ice, the sugary bottled malt beverage that's become classified as the ultimate "girly drink."
"The rules are simple: hand a Smirnoff Ice (the warmer/more disgusting the flavor, the better) to a friend (your "bro"), and he must get down on one knee and chug the malt beverage, regardless of location and situational appropriateness," culture blog The Awl explains. "HOWEVER. If said friend happens to have a Smirnoff Ice on his person, then the bro who initiated the battle has to chug BOTH Ices. This is known as an Ice Block."
Where does the Web come in? Well, once you ice a bro, you're more or less obligated to put the photo online. The most popular destination for these is BrosIcingBros.com, but another site called You Got Iced (which seems to feature more "icing" in office cubicles rather than frat house backyards) has also emerged as of late. A rudimentary page created by marketing firm Attention USA is offering an unspecified prize for photographic proof that someone has "iced" Ashton Kutcher, who might very well be the closest thing that the tech industry has to a fraternity president.
"Icing" appears to have originated on college campuses in South Carolina, according to an interview with one of the site's founders conducted by culture blog Urlesque. That makes its origins just about the opposite of the Rickroll's--the surprise plays of Rick Astley's corny music video first took root at message board 4chan, which is more or less the underbelly of the Internet. To see an Internet meme launched by the kinds of "bros" who probably boasted about shoving nerds into lockers back in the day is amusing, at the least.
This is an interesting, if mindless online fad. I say "interesting" because if this gets big, I wonder if Smirnoff will get involved somehow. The act of "icing" is tied to a specific brand--Mike's Hard Lemonade or Bacardi's abhorrent bottled mojitos won't do. In fact, the possibility was raised among many an observer that perhaps Bros Icing Bros was actually a subtle marketing campaign on Smirnoff's behalf--understanding that men will never want to drink the stuff with a straight face, they give them another reason to pour it down their throats.
But the language on Bros Icing Bros is vicious enough that it's probably safe to assume Smirnoff isn't involved: "To really f*** over your bros try and buy the most disgusting flavored ice or a 24 oz. ice. Pineapple, mango, and grape are top of the list for the most gut wrenching, mind numbing, throw-up-in-your-mouth Smirnoff Ice flavors."
Still, Smirnoff could easily co-opt the "icing" phenomenon and turn it into a YouTube marketing campaign or some kind of stunt at high-profile entertainment events where the crowd would get the joke.
They could even, in fact, ice Ashton.