Independent Agency Expands Global Footprint, Production Capabilities and Hospitality Expertise

Independent agency Connelly Partners announced today that it will acquire VRX Studios (VRX), which for two decades has earned the reputation as the hospitality industry’s leading photography and visual content company. Together, VRX, backed by the power of Connelly Partners, will work with brands through a process that leverages data, leading technology and anthropology to uncover what audiences want and to produce dynamic content that engages, inspires, builds affinity and converts.

VRX and Connelly Partners’ combined resources will support brands across Travel & Tourism, Health & Wellness, Higher Education and Financial Services categories. They will develop strategic content solutions via a production SWAT team specializing in bringing stories and experiences to life – faster and more cost efficiently than the typical production house. From TV and video production and high-end photoshoots to social content and digital innovation, brand solutions can be content-specific or as part of the agency’s integrated, full-service offerings. 

“Great content isn’t about the camera lens, it’s about the human lens. Competition is everywhere today as consumers are being bombarded with content everywhere they turn,” said Steve Connelly, President and Copywriter, Connelly Partners. “By bringing together VRX Studio’s visual storytelling expertise with CP’s integrated offerings and spotlight on humanity, we’re helping brands build deeper connections with audiences by creating content with a heartbeat.” 

The deal expands Connelly Partners’ content development capabilities with a global team on five continents. It also builds upon the agency’s Travel & Tourism expertise as the industry is rethinking how it reaches and supports external audiences (consumers, suppliers, business relationships and more) and internal audiences (staff, stakeholders and more) for brands and destinations. 

“This is a significant partnership for VRX, and most importantly, one that aligns with our values, which is critical to success,” according to Tinu Mathur, President and Chief Creative, VRX Studios. “We suddenly enhance our offering as we continue to redefine the outcomes for our partners and clients by creating leadership through an ecosystem of content for the future state and to help position them positively as we emerge out of the pandemic.”

In its early years, VRX was the sole content provider for Expedia and pioneered new ways to capture, process and deliver visual content. With compelling photography, interactive maps and 360 degree virtual tours, it set new benchmarks for the way travel and hospitality are presented online, shaping the visceral experience of travel. VRX has held long-term partnerships with multinational brand leaders in Hospitality including Hyatt, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, IHG, Fairmont, Wyndham, Shangri-La, Kempinski, Caesars Entertainment, Princess Cruises and Holland America, among others. They have shot over 20,000 hotels and work in 131 countries.  VRX has diversified  by bringing its expertise to the co-working office arena by forging a partnership with industry leader WeWork. They recently launched a new Wellness focused practice called Studio M, leading clients like Amica, Canada’s leading Senior Lifestyle Communities.

Scott Madden, Senior Partner, Director of Strategy at Connelly Partners, will serve as Managing Director of VRX to bridge the two organizations strategically. 

“As an industry of storytellers, we’ve only scratched the surface in our discovery of how powerfully unifying digital content can be – whether closing physical or emotional distance, or inspiring positive attitudes, feelings and behaviors. The depth and scale that the unification of these two organizations brings will propel that discovery,” says Madden.

The financials of the deal are not disclosed. VRX will be a sister company to Connelly Partners, maintaining its name and home base in Vancouver, Canada. 

Connelly Partners is an independent, full-service agency based in Boston and with offices in Dublin and now Vancouver. Its approach balances a passion for anthropology and the role of the right brain in the buying process, with a respect for data, analytics and measurement to create holistic solutions for clients. The agency works with brands including Titleist, Gorton’s Seafood, Williamsburg Tourism Council, Audi Ireland, Uno Pizzeria & Grill, and more.