A new meme is gaining significant traction poses questions for the Smirnoff brand.
The Smirnoff brand is the subject of an underground game called “Bros Icing Bros“. The now viral activity involves a person presenting a friend (err, “bro”) with a Smirnoff Ice which they must then and there – regardless of time, location or context – take on bended knee and chug the entire bottle. The exception is if that friend himself (or herself) is carrying a Smirnoff Ice – in that case, the original presenter must chug both “Ices”.
The viral game is represented by both a website and Twitter feed. While the game has quickly spread – from commodities traders at Goldman Sachs to the offices of Wieden + Kennedy, and to a website compiling images of various “bros getting iced” – it’s very unclear whether this attention and coverage was commissioned and sanctioned by Smirnoff, or entirely consumer-generated unbeknownst to the brand.
While some may argue that the old adage – any press is good press, and certainly better than no press (except for BP) may apply here, there are a few potentially damaging implications to the press generated by Bros Icing Bros. If it is revealed that Smirnoff was cognizant of the viral video, it will have the notions of overconsumption of alcohol, driving under the influence (at least one photo of a “bro” getting iced while in a car is making the rounds) and even some not-so-friendly gestures of said bros giving their photographer the finger to explain to the media and trade groups. Having these strikes against them may not be justified by the short-term sales spikes generated by the game over the summer.
Maybe Smirnoff should consider issuing a statement regarding its involvement (or lack thereof) before the publicity turns negative; despite its seemingly harmless humor.