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'Icing' Drinking Game Goes Viral; Smirnoff Denies Responsibility

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From college campuses across the U.S. to Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, “icing” has become the first viral drinking game of the modern era, the New York Times reported June 8.

A modification of “tag” involving alcohol, players “ice” one another by handing off a warm Smirnoff Ice malt beverage, which must then be consumed on one knee immediately, regardless of the setting. The only way to avoid being “iced” is if the target also has a Smirnoff Ice in their possession – in which case the attacker must consume both drinks in the same fashion.

Thanks to social media and websites like BrosIcingBros.com, the fad has spread almost overnight, even targeting celebrities like Coolio and rock band The National.

However, some question whether the meme was begun by Smirnoff itself. The company denies any involvement. “Icing is consumer-generated, and some people think it is fun,” a company statement read. “We never want under-age 'icing' and we always want responsible drinking.”

At least one branding analyst concurs, since one of the central appeals of “icing” revolves around Smirnoff being, as one participant noted, a “pretty terrible” drink.

Either way, Smirnoff seems to be gaining at least a temporary benefit. “People buying Smirnoff Ice like crazy,” said El Sayed Hayed, who owns a grocery store in downtown Charleston, S.C. “This is the first year this happens.”

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