From Mail Order Copywriter to Dating Market King

If you picked up a magazine or newspaper in the 1970s or 1980s, you would’ve encountered an ad like this from Eric Weber’s Symphony Press.

Weber was a timid young advertising copywriter when he decided there had to be a better way to meet women.

So, he took tape recorder in hand and spent his weekends approaching women and asking them what a man could do to pique their interest.

At night, he’d transcribe the tapes.

He realized he was onto something when he met the woman he’d later marry.

Eventually, he had enough material for a book, but no publisher would option “How to Pick Up Girls.”

One day Weber was sitting on his psychoanalyst’s sofa complaining that he’d worked thousands of hours on his book, but couldn’t get it published.

His analyst replied, “You’re in advertising. Promote your own book and sell it yourself by mail order.”

That’s exactly what Weber did and he went on to sell millions of copies of his books by mail order and became the first “king” of the dating market.

Message to copywriters: it’s good to eat your own cooking.

Here’s one of the first ads that opened the floodgates to the then untapped dating market.

“If I got my man, you can get yours.”


  1. says

    But I’m too precious about it all to eat my own cooking. I’d rather be a martyr. Suffer and moan while everyone else around me gets rich.

  2. Tia Dobi says

    Hi Lawrence,

    OK. I’m confused. Is the woman in the ad a real person who worked as an editor for the magasine (as stated in the ad) and Eric ghostwrote this ad for her?

    Or is the ad completely ‘made up’?

    Is this a true story (the story IN the ad)?

    Thank you!

  3. Lawrence Bernstein says

    Hi Tia,

    You asked who wrote the ad, I’m tellin you based on what I’ve read — see NYT link above.

    I’m not Weber’s priest or rabbi. 🙂

    C’mon Tia, I thought you were in direct response, not high school English. You pretend like you’ve never encountered embellishment or writing under a pseudonym before.

  4. Jesse says

    Hi Lawrence,

    I just discovered your blog today – and what a gold mine! I love all of these old print ads you’ve dug up and even better, I love your accurate analysis of each ad. Truly an informative read!

    I am looking for some print ads for retail stores and traditional businesses (i.e. restaurants, retail shops, stores) that are written with a direct response style. And if possible, BEFORE and AFTER examples of the ads with a case study of the results.

    Do you know where I might find something like that online?

    Jesse Forrest

  5. Lawrence Bernstein says

    Hi Jesse,

    Seems I’ve just “discovered” this site myself — far too much going on and no updates to the site.

    If you’re looking for print ads, you might try

    I assume the before and after you’re talking about is general advertising version first and then D.R.

    That might make an interesting project though getting sales figures would be tough.



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