Internet Nostalgia

Let’s Revisit “Bros Icing Bros”

It was gone immediately, but, alas, not forever.

Will Leitch
3 min readAug 6, 2021

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Welcome to part 23 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. Last week: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video. This week: “Icing Bros.”

When: Spring 2010

The Story: For what it’s worth, Smirnoff Ice has always said it wasn’t involved with any of it. Sales of the malt beverage had been falling for years when, in the spring of 2010, out of nowhere, a new game began to circulate among the bro Internet. (Which, all told, was really just “the Internet” in 2010.) The game? A “bro” — basically, a white frat guy — would suddenly, without warning, spring a Smirnoff Ice out of nowhere to another bro, and that bro would have to chug the whole Smirnoff Ice. That was the whole meme: Springing Smirnoff Ices on people and making them drink an entire bottle. There was even a site, the now-mercifully-defunct “Brosicingbros.com,” which set down clear rules. But it’s not obvious why such a site needed to exist: The rules were not complicated.

There was an inherent misogyny in the whole frat bro concept, but this was 2010, which meant that this could be scrubbed out very easily simply by making it “ironic.” Which is why it crossed over from frat world into the larger culture: You could tell yourself that, by doing it, you were in fact mocking frat culture. While doing the very thing that had grown out of frat culture. It was remarkable how many terrible things in the 2010s were done with ironic quotation marks around them. Shoot, even NYC hipster journalism pioneer The Awl wrote about how funny Icing Bros was.

Pop Culture Crossover: Well, jeez, they iced Coolio:

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Will Leitch

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com