Organic Viral Marketing & Smirnoff Ice’s Loss

Bro’s Icing Bro’s was a hilarious internet meme where young men would post pictures and videos – proof of forcing a friend to “take a knee” and chug an entire bottle of Smirnoff Ice- a sweet ‘girly’ malt beverage.

I am guessing that until now, men under the age of 30 were not Smirnoff Ice’s target demographic, unless they were buying the sugary drink for their much younger girlfriends.

So this silly website, set up by a college student, had young men across the country buying Smirnoff Ice to prank their friends, or to “block” an icing from happening to them, by having a bottle on hand at all times.

Now is shut down (some say Smirnoff Ice’s parent company Diageo is responsible) and bears the message, “We had a good run bro’s.”

My question is why would a company turn down this organic viral marketing opportunity? I mean, it’s something that most marketers are chasing. I know the meme was condoning chugging, a form of binge-drinking, but how else is Smirnoff going to capture that market? I guess the company is more concerned bout being sued than making money.

In a post, writer Brenna Erlich talks about the shutdown of the site and the fate of the “Bro” as an internet sensation:

Although it’s admittedly a positive thing that rapidly chugging less-than-stellar liquor is being discouraged, with the website’s death we could be witnessing the demise of the newest up-and-coming viral meme: the bro. That’s right, in recent weeks, the beer-chuggin’, boot-cut jean wearin’, slow jamz-lovin’ bro has been making a more prominent entrance into a realm most recently populated by another subculture, the hipster. Like the hipster, the idea of the bro was becoming a viral craze all by its lonesome.


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