Connelly Partners, ISM form unit specializing in travel and leisure marketing

Boston ad agency Connelly Partners and ISM announced a merger agreement Thursday that creates a new travel and hospitality marketing offering titled ISM/CP Travel & Lifestyle Group.

Steve Connelly. Photo courtesy of Connelly Partners.

The combination brings total headcount to more than 100 employees, and the coming together means that the firms will now have the size and scale to woo larger clients. The combination will also enable ISM to take advantage of Connelly Partners’ expertise in digital and social media marketing in serving current clients and pitching new ones. Connelly Partners currently has about 70 employees.

Based in Boston, ISM specializes in devising marketing campaigns for the travel and leisure industry. Clients include Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, American Express Travel, Saint Lucia Tourist Board, and Palace Resorts. Plans call for ISM to move into the Connelly Partners’ office in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Clients of Connelly Partners include the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and Stowe Mountain Resort. 

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After the merger, Connelly Partners projects combined annual revenues of about $15 million.

“ISM is recognized around the world as a leader in the travel and leisure space and as an exceptional marketer,” Connelly Partners president Steve Connelly said in a statement. “We are excited to establish this new group within Connelly Partners, and combining our collective travel and lifestyle experience to build something very cool and dynamic in the travel segment.”

ISM president and CEO Gary Leopold will head up the ISM/CP Travel & Lifestyle Group.

Non-travel industry clients of Connelly Partners include Tufts Health Plan, Kayem Foods, Babson College, the Massachusetts State Lottery, and Wyman’s of Maine.