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Victor Schwab - Marketing Master

NEW YORK -- 44-year copywriting veteran lays out the no-nonsense pro tips on how to write sizzling copy.


Victor O. Schwab was the one of most famous direct marketing copywriters of all time. His work for Dale Carnegie’s "How to Win Friends and Influence People" made it a best-selling book in the 1930s.

He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1898.

At the age 19, Schwab enrolled in Columbia University as a night student, where he met Maxwell Sackheim. At that time Sackheim was a copy chief with Ruthrauff and Ryan, a leading mail-order advertising agency of the day.

Because Schwab could take shorthand, he was hired by Sackheim as his private secretary.

Working under Sackheim, Schwab, soon developed into a great mail-order copywriter. Of course, Sackheim himself was highly skilled in writing mail-order copy and also had worked in the agency specializing in mail-order advertising.

In 1928, Schwab and his partner Robert Beatty took over the Sackheim and Scherman agency when Scherman and Sackheim decided to give it up. The agency later was renamed Schwab and Beatty.

A copy research pioneer, Schwab frequently used coded coupon ads to test ads. When the coupons returned, he could easily track which ads it came from, the headlines, copy appeals, length, layouts, etc.

He created Sunday comics ads for Dale Carnegie, body-builder Charles Atlas and Sherwin Cody's English Classics Course.

In his series of five articles titled "How to Write a Good Advertisement", which appeared in the 1941 Printers’ Ink, Schwab introduced a five-step copywriting formula:

  • Get Attention
  • Show People an Advantage
  • Prove It
  • Persuade People to Grasp This Advantage
  • Ask For Action

    He later developed these ideas further in his own book by the same title, How to Write a Good Advertisement. In this "short course in copywriting", he also explains how to design winning layouts, increase the number of responses, and more...

    Schwab left Schwab and Beatty in 1962 and retired to Spain. He died in 1980 from the effects of a stroke.




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