Forge Clear Ice

The Forge Clear Ice System does one thing, and it does it well – it creates crystal-clear ice spheres – the kind that had previously been the exclusive domain of high-end cocktail bars and intensely committed hobbyists. Combining a self-contained, countertop clear ice maker with the world’s-first heated clear ice “press”, it can quickly, repeatedly, and consistently make clear ice spheres to enhance spirits and beverages.

Working in deep collaboration with FirstBuild, we helped them triple their launch goal and prove the market for this unique product. The Forge Clear Ice System began shipping to homes in Summer 2020.

How We Did It

The Forge is a unique product with a unique audience. But for us, it wasn’t a unique challenge. Our user-focused strategy process helped us to find and understand our audience, their needs, desires, and motivations – and then craft a brand that spoke directly to those things.

Working in collaboration with FirstBuild, we developed and executed a product launch strategy and marketing plan that culminated with a hugely successful launch in June 2019, 300% of FirstBuild’s goal was reached.

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Man holding Forge Clear Ice ball and glass.
Forge Clear Ice machine gift set.

Bringing Forge to Life

The Forge is a luxury item, and as such required a level of refinement and quality in its brand, voice, and visuals more than any other prior FirstBuild product.

To achieve this, we put an intense focus on the following:

  • A very particular voice and tone
  • Exquisite photography
  • Close attention to our growing audience

Product & Lifestyle Photography

A luxury product requires luxurious photography. We partnered with Kriech-Higdon Photography to plan, style, execute, and shoot the best product photography FirstBuild has had to date. The results were “crystal clear” as they say.

Man pouring alcohol from a decanter to a glass with Forge Clear Ice.
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Two men toasting their glasses over a charcuterie board.

Hype Video

Because the Forge is a one-of-a-kind appliance, a video showing how it worked was vital to the fundraising phase. The high-end product needed a high-end environment. We partnered with Bellwether Collective to create a video showing the Forge in action in its natural habitat. Having Fred Minnick, author and bourbon curator and taster, as the spokesperson for Forge was a game-changer. Minnick’s partnership gave The Forge Clear Ice System the credibility its audience was looking for.

Social Media & Audience Nurturing

The experience for Forge fans has to be high-quality from start to finish, and has to look and feel exclusive. To help achieve this, we developed a “Forge Insiders” content calendar that provided insights, alerts, and exclusive content about Forge via email. Using Mailchimp we regularly wrote, designed, and deployed email campaigns to thousands of Forge fans in our growing pre-launch audience.

Forge Clear Ice Instagram posts.

Landing Page Development

A deep understanding of our audiences, a strong brand, and our commitment to user-focused design and development all culminated in a thoughtfully-designed, conversion-driven landing page experience that produced results and satisfied the consumer.

Because the audience we were trying to reach was most likely not using traditional crowdfunding websites like Indiegogo, and to give FirstBuild a greater degree of control, a custom platform was created to live within the FirstBuild website. The crowdfunding platform was a huge success and can be used for future FirstBuild products.

Forge Clear Ice landing page mockup.

In-depth reporting and analysis

Measurable goals and clear metrics for success are requirements for any project at VIA Studio, and Forge was no different. With clear goals, well-defined metrics, and a solid marketing plan to start from, we iterated and reported week-to-week to find our audience and achieve our goals, while spending money wisely.

Our deep knowledge of Google Data Studio, combined with in-house integrations for Facebook, Google Ads, and other ad platforms allows us to create custom dashboards that visualize our progress, and help our partners make informed decisions.

"Clear" Results

As of 2023, the Forge Clear Ice System was successful enough to graduate to GE Monogram's appliance lineup as the Forge Heated Ice Press.

People celebrating behind the Forge Clear Ice machine and bar cart.