I had no idea there was a “Boles University” (no, there really isn’t one) until I received the Best Ever Direct Mail Campaign (yes, there really is one) yesterday.

Boles Direct

I turned over that 8″x6″ full color card in my hands for a full 15
minutes as I admired its advertising genius and incredible printing
process that goes against the grain of a mass market mentality.
There was no way to see the “Boles” part was separate from the rest of
the design. The “Boles” was embedded in the whole so much better than
the ill-conceived “Buy Our CafePress Logo Junk!” you see many online
retailers shilling to their customers.

I’m sure every “Boles” in the world received that special university
mailing but I was touched by the evil ingenuity of its advertising
If I owned more than half a mind I just might buy a hoody or two after
I figure how to charge tuition for enrollment in a university made of
ink and cloth and filled by a faculty with feet of sneakers. The ivory
tower has nothing on the embroidered baseball cap!


  1. I like this unique approach David!
    I remember, back home, one fine morning there was a punch line in every news paper –
    “Liquid gold – Rs…/kg”
    and that’s it, nothing else! Gold is very valuable to any Indian, and what a great way it was to trigger curiosity! It kept on appearing for next seven days, and finally it came out as an advertisement of refined mustard oil (the major cooking medium in any Indian household). Mustard oil, when refined, really looks like pure liquid gold – what a brilliant way to connect!

  2. What a load of “boles,” sorry couldn’t resist.
    I’m sure they have people buying that stuff. I have a baseball cap with “Mik” embroidered on it. Helps in case I forget who I am, then I can look in the mirror, “Oh yeah, I’m Kim!”

  3. There’s just one problem: Boles isn’t a particularly good name for a university. If I were the marketing people, I’d name my fake university Edwin Johnston University or East Washington Technical or something like that.

  4. Is it only available in the name “Boles”? It actually sounds like a pretty pretigious school! “East Washington Technical” sounds like second tier university. You can wear the Boles shirt around,and when people ask, you can tell them that you are an Ivy Leaguer…

  5. Hi Don!
    We are pleased with your support for Boles University and we are making you our May 2006 commencement speaker. We will also provide you an honorary PhD and a custom-made imprinted sweatband.

  6. Excellent direct marketing campaign. I’m surprised nobody ever thought of it before now. I’ll have to keep my eyes open since I’m sure I’ll start seeing various “brand new” colleges starting to pop up on people’s sweatshirts and caps.
    When I saw the postcard, I first thought it had something to do with Scriptprofessor. You could start an online university that offers certificates in advanced blog writing from the comfort of your own home at half the cost of the other online universities!

  7. Hi Chris!
    It is a very slick design!
    Ah! I like how you think! ScriptProfessor.com becomes Boles University! Perfect! Ba-ha-haa-harr!
    If I could register a .edu address I’d do it all in a heartbeat! An online university could be done really well.
    I have yet to see the sort of “Web 2.0” implementation of that style of virtual university learning that I’ve been yearning so much to teach.

  8. Boles University online could be a Web 2.0 implementation connected to Internet 2!
    Having an .edu domain would be pretty cool.
    I’ve noticed that some of the smaller business colleges in my area have .com addresses, so I assume getting approval for a .edu is pretty tough.

  9. Yay! Love the idea, Chris! 2 is a REAL lucky, lucky, number, right? It’s even — so it’s male — but it isn’t divisible by 3! Gah!
    I wonder what the process is for getting a .edu site? I think it is a tough thing to get. That’s a good, though.
    I suppose the fact that “Trump University” is still only a .com:
    is a REALLY good thing, eh?

  10. I’m glad that the .edu domain is limited. Otherwise, all sorts of strange schools would have an .edu address.
    If you could get your post-secondary institution accredited by an organization recognized by the Dept. of Education, you can get an .edu domain.
    I noticed that a small local college that used to be “.com” has moved up to the big leagues with an .edu address. http://www.sawyercollege.edu/.
    Another local “independent” religious college in my area is still .com, however. http://www.hylesanderson.com/.
    According to Wikipedia, the college has never sought to be accredited.

    Since it is unaccredited by these bodies, it cannot receive any government funding, which includes participating in the student loan program. The school claims that it does not want accreditation.

  11. Excellent research skills, Chris! The topic is actually quite intricate and interesting. I am happy there are solid accreditation requirements for the .edu domain name. That is as it should be — otherwise every homeschooling situation would apply for an .edu name and it would soon mean nothing.
    Now if you’re up to it, see if you can find the requirements for a .gov domain. Is there any chance for Boles.gov now that Boles.edu is out?

  12. Hi David,
    If you wanted to get a .gov domain name, you might want to find an unincorporated area and start a new town with elected officials.
    There is a very small town, Indian Village, Indiana that is adjacent to South Bend and right next to Notre Dame’s golf course might be a model for your new Town of Boles. It’s total land area is .01 square miles.
    Here are the requirements:

    Registrations that qualify for a .gov domain
    U.S. Governmental departments, programs, and agencies on the federal level
    Federally recognized Indian Tribes (-NSN.gov domain)
    State governmental entities/programs
    Cities and townships represented by an elected body of officials
    Counties and parishes represented by an elected body of officials
    U.S. territories

    It’s interesting that the government registrar (the GSA) is only accepting credit cards for registration fees.

    Payment will be accepted only via credit card.

  13. Chris!
    OOoo! This is getting even better. “Boles Township.” Nice ring!
    Or, if I could some how be be made a U.S. Governmental department like “The Department of Homeland Boles” I might just be able to swing this.
    Or I’d accept “territory” assignment as well: “The Great Republic of Boleshoody.”
    Now that’s funny — only credit cards accepted! Do governments have their own plastic?

  14. I wonder if some cities and towns bounced their checks …
    I’ve noticed that many of our local government entities have opted to go with the cheaper .org and .com domain names. For example, http://Lakecountyin.org or http://www.townofmerrillville.com/.
    With enough campaign contributions, I’m sure some legislator somewhere would create a Department of Homeland Boles to slip into some emergency appropriations bill. Someone once convinced the Indiana House to pass a bill changing the number Pi.
    Anything is possible with legislation!

  15. It is interesting how some communities don’t want the .gov domain name! That’s a bit silly. I think it is necessary and essential to the well-being of a community that decides to go online.
    Love the crazy Pi bill! Every loon shall have their day!

  16. The Pi bill is silly.
    There’s some commentary about how it started out in the Canal Committee (or the appropriately named Committee on Swamp Lands, according to Wikipedia), proceeded to pass the House, then when it went to the Senate, was referred to the Temperance Committee, then to the full Senate where it was ridiculed after a math professor “coached” the legislators.
    According to the Purdue article referring to the Senate’s introduction of the bill in its Temperance Committee:

    They must have been drunk. Edington (p. 209) speculates that this may have been “done intentionally, for certainly the bill could have been referred to no committee more appropriately named.” Waldo says he coached the Senate the week before. Either he had not coached those on the committee (who were then probably unpleasantly surprised by its reception in the full Senate), or the Senators on the committee were just having some fun, or Professor Waldo remembered incorrectly, and he did his coaching on February 12, after the bill passed the Senate Temperance Committee but before the Senate debate.

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