“Most agencies are here to tell you how awesome they are… …but we’re not most agencies.”

As a young copywriter I was told a million times: show, don’t tell!

I was given some pretty examples…

Dont Tell me

…and some not so pretty (but rather effective) examples…


It’s one of those ageless bits of advertising advice that everyone has heard, and passed on, time and time again. To the point where we’ve lost our appreciation of how amazingly epic that piece of advice really is.

And it’s no longer confined to just the creative department.

The brave new business leader realises that great leaders don’t tell people what to do, they show them how it’s done.


So when it comes to pitching for new business, the adage should hold true as well. You can tell prospective clients that your agency is awesome until you’re blue in the face – but they won’t believe you until you show them.

We recently took this approach when pitching for a new insurance player in the South African market. At Tribalfish we pride ourselves on being the ‘un-agency’ – we don’t follow the same old rules, because the same old rules lead to the same old solutions.


So how do we convince a potential client of our ‘un’-ness?

While every other agency pitching for this juicy chunk of business went in with the usual .pptx and the ‘we’re so fantastic’ spiel in the boardroom, we flipped the pitch process on it’s head.

The good ole powerpoint went flying out the window as we took the client on a literal journey of ‘un-ness’. Stolen from the boardroom the clients were taken on a minibus ride from their offices to ours and rather than we telling the client how incredible we are, our current clients did the talking for us via pre-recorded videos playing on the bus’s overhead TV’s.

To add to the adventure, we periodically stopped at various points along the way from Braamfontein to Dunkeld, to pick up our team members who stopped the bus by holding up giant, eye-catching signs that spoke to our un-agency motto.

The client was totally charmed. He got to experience our ethos and he connected with it so well that a mere five days later we got a phone-call awarding us the business.

Because at the end of the day, the un-agency can’t be told, it has to be lived.

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