Smirnoff Drinking Game Is The Icing On Your Hangover

Amy Laviero :: Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 4:30 pm

While I was pissing away time on Facebook the other day, I came across a friend’s photo album displaying multiple, grainy photos of our friends down on one knee chugging what appeared to be a water bottle. The caption underneath each picture? “ICED!” I was a little more than confused by the messaging, but I was happy my friends had finally learned the art of thwarting hangovers. However, I was mistaken. The bottles pictured were none other than Smirnoff Ice; the gag-inducing malt drink of choice for many underaged girls.

Smirnoff Ice is fucking heinous. Its relatively low alcohol content plus sky-high sugar count equals disaster for anyone seeking a buzz via the fizzy concoction. For me, Smirnoff Ice single-handedly ruined the taste and smell of green apple forever.

Following a high school graduation party some-odd years ago, Smirnoff “Green Apple Bite” 100 percent bit me in the ass. To this day the color of green apple makes me want to puke. I doubt I’m alone in this. Recently, however, hundreds of thousands of people have been documenting the consumption of Smirnoff Ice on one knee begging the question “Why?”

Rules of the “Iced” game are pretty simple. If you’re presented with a Smirnoff Ice you must drop to one knee and drink up. The only acceptable way to turn down an Ice is if you have a “shield-Ice” in hand. Present it to your attacker and you’ve successfully reversed the Icing. The game’s popularity has grown exponentially in the past month or so thanks to websites like You Got Iced!, which documents the icing of indie artists including Deer Tick, Circa Survive, and Titus Andronicus. Bros Icing Bros, offers rules and a photo gallery of stellar Ices from around the country. My favorite is Coolio being Iced after performing “Gangsta’s Paradise;” he resembles a gangster Bozo the Clown and is more than a gentleman when it comes to accepting his Smirnoff Ice. College kids, twenty-something professionals, and celebrities alike are chugging down the vodka cooler at the expense of their livers and pride. There’s even a campaign to Ice Ashton Kutcher. I say we try Icing Lindsay Lohan.

I understand why this is sweeping the nation; it’s hilarious. I’d have no problem laughing at you while you choke down the third nastiest alcoholic beverage ever made (Four Loko and Joose top my proverbial list, respectively). Maybe this makes me a bad person. However, I would never, ever consent to playing “Iced” simply out of fear.

I find myself questioning just how games like this come about. Who thinks of them, and, before the Internet, how did they become popularized? Take Edward 40-Hands for instance. Who thought it a good idea to tape two forties of Old E to each hand until both were finished? I could imagine a few suspects, but the last thing that comes to mind is Old English itself. They’d never invite the possibility of injury or death in our litigious society. Still, people have been speculating that Smirnoff actually invented the Iced game. Could the now viral game be a genius example of guerila marketing?

Dick Martin, who wrote several books on marketing, expressed his doubts about this to the New York Times today. “Beyond the implicit slur on the beverage’s taste, I doubt any alcoholic beverage company would want to be associated with a drinking game that stretches the boundaries of good taste and common sense like this one does,” he said. “It’s too obviously a self-destruct button on all their ‘drink responsibly’ advertising.”

Even Smirnoff responded to the Icing phenom with this statement: “Icing is consumer-generated, and some people think it is fun. We never want under-age ‘icing’ and we always want responsible drinking.”

It’s safe to assume Smirnoff did not actually invent Icing, though the speculation is funny for myriad reasons. First, it suggests that Smirnoff Ice is so repulsive even its makers understand the insult made by forcing someone to drink it. It also says something about us: We’re so doubtful that something original and organic can sweep the nation that we immediately attribute any semblence of creativity to marketing.

Further investigation on the origin of Icing points to southern states and colleges, where sales of Smirnoff Ice have skyrocketed. Either way, the alcoholic phenomenon is here to stay for at least the summer. I’ll continue enjoying the trend via YGI! and BIB, but don’t try wasting your Ices on me.