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Effective Altruism Merchandise Ideas

As part of my broader project, Intentional Insights, to spread rational thinking and Effective Altruism, I want to create some Effective Altruism merchandise, and I would appreciate your feedback and ideas on doing so.

 

The goal of this merchandise would be for Effective Altruists to wear it both as a signal of their affiliation with the movement and to prompt non-EAs to talk to them about it. In other words, the merchandise would both help build community with fellow EAs since the merchandise would make EAs feel closer to each other and also remind each other of their commitment, but also serve as a means of outreach to others. All profit made on the merchandise would go to the cause of promoting Effective Altruism and rational thinking effectively.

 

Intentional Insights already has merchandise designed to convey rational thinking, with slogans such as "Glad To Change My Mind," "Less Wrong Every Day," "Please Provide An Example," and others. I would like to integrate some explicitly EA-themed slogans into this set, following the same format. Namely I'd appreciate ideas for slogans with 6 words or less that convey crucial ideas about the EA movement that would be engaging for non-EA members, without using jargon, and that you or other EAs you know would likely wear on a T-shirt.

 

For example, a good slogan might be "Doing Good Effectively By Using Reason" since it fits both purposes, of cultivating an EA community and reminding each other of our commitments, and also of prompting others to ask us about how we do good effectively by using reason. A poor one would be "Optimizing QALYs By Consequentialist Utilitarianism" since that fulfills only the first purpose, but not the second, as it contains three words that most non-EAs would be unlikely to know.

 

Thanks for any ideas you have, and please upvote and comment on posts whose slogans you most approve.

 

P.S. This article is part of the EA Marketing Resource Bank project lead by Intentional Insights and the Local Effective Altruism Network, with support from The Life You Can Save.

Comments (33)

Comment author: EricHerboso  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 04:22:45PM 3 points [-]

In general, I like the idea of having something to wear that promotes discussion. It's especially useful for introverts like myself who have trouble bringing up EA in social contexts, but have no problem responding to questions about my shirt and using that as an introduction to EA.

The shirt given out at EA Global was good, as it just has the term "Effective Altruism" which tends to prompt questions. The shirt GiveWell sells is also excellent, as they are a very well named organization. But "Doing Good Effectively by Using Reason" seems clunky to me. I believe it is too long and it feels more pompous than something shorter like "GiveWell".

Contrary to what you've written, I actually think something like "Optimizing QALYs" might actually be good. It's short, easy to read, doesn't sound pompous, and will definitely prompt a question of what it means in a social situation. That is the kind of shirt that I'd actually wear and find useful.

Other shirts I'd find useful would be for various well-named organizations, like "Animal Charity Evaluators", "Giving What We Can", "Charity Science", etc. These don't even need slogans; they can use their name/logo alone, and I think I'd find the shirt useful.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 18 March 2016 02:11:35AM 0 points [-]

We put some shirts together, what do you think? http://www.cafepress.com/intentional_merchandise/13220189

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 04:46:38PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I hear you about the clunkiness of "Doing Good Effectively by Using Reason." I'd certainly be willing to update on "Optimizing QALYs" if you and other people support it. Anyone else thinks "Optimizing QALYs" would work well?

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 20 October 2015 07:36:32PM *  2 points [-]

Dunno, I'm a little skeptical as to whether this will be a useful thing to do. I suppose you have to wear something anyway, so it may as well promote EA ideas, but I don't think this way of doing it is really going to change anything... but I have no education in marketing etc, so I could be very wrong. It seems to me like putting the url of an important website, or just saying "Effective Altruism" straight up, is a better way of advertising the ideas.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 October 2015 09:05:39PM -1 points [-]

Thanks for sharing! I have quite a bit of education in marketing, and this is actually a quite effective way to market ideas.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 15 December 2015 11:53:50PM 0 points [-]

Care to expand? I haven't seen much evidence of marketing experience in your background or work, but would be happy to learn more.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 16 December 2015 04:37:38PM -1 points [-]

Sure!

I'm a professor in the history of science, working at the intersection of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics. The particular areas of research that I focus on have to do a lot with persuasion and social influence, and as part of that, I have read quite a bit on marketing and promotion, including using modern marketing tools. I have also done quite a lot of practice in marketing since starting up the organization over a year ago. Other core members of Intentional Insights have strong educational backgrounds in marketing as well, particularly in the nonprofit context. For example, my co-founder, Agnes Vishnevkin, has an MBA in nonprofit management, and has over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including marketing/fundraising.

Comment author: joshjacobson  (EA Profile) 16 December 2015 06:50:08PM 1 point [-]

If this is the case:

  1. Why aren't you pursuing a typical marketing path? Or are you, and it just hasn't been shared? I've seen no evidence of your attempting to identify a consumer target, build a positioning, etc.

  2. Why aren't you testing your merchandise against the target? Someone with marketing experience should know that asking the people who are already converted (into EAs) are the exact opposite of those whom you want to test your message against, you want it to work with non-EAs you're targeting. Frankly, if your testing was working, I'd expect to see much improved products and materials. They are quite poor at the moment.

  3. Why are you pursuing PR? Not only do marketers know well about the unsustainability of PR, but also we know it's a valuable, short-term resource that you don't want to exhaust on low-converting material.

I do hope there are strategies behind each of these 3 observations, and it would be great to hear what they are and what I haven't seen.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 16 December 2015 08:32:00PM 0 points [-]

1) We're working on developing buyer personas internally right now.

2) We are testing merchandise against the target. Check out this article here as an example.

3) PR in the social media world is a much looser and fluid thing than it used to be. This book has been especially impactful in shaping the Intentional Insights approach to PR.

On a meta-level, this EA Forum post was meant to get EAs interested in the project of creating merchandise, and building allies who might be interested in collaborating on it. If you have marketing expertise yourself, I'd be interested in the possibility of chatting with you about this. My email is gleb@intentionalinsights.org

Comment author: AlasdairGives 20 October 2015 05:24:37PM *  2 points [-]

Ok, i don't want to be rude but there is no nice way to say this, so please just take it as feedback on this project not you as a person. Your existing merchandise is an ugly mess. My reaction to someone wearing an EA themed shirt of the same aesthetic level and quality would be cringing embarrasment not pride in a community.

EA merch as a tribal/signalling thing is a fine idea - but it needs to be of a much higher quality and design. As a bare minimum it should be printed by a higher quality producer than cafepress (like teespring?) and be designed by a professional designer.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 October 2015 09:06:54PM 3 points [-]

I don't take it as commentary on myself, and thanks for sharing your take :-) It's actually designed by a professional designer, but I hear that you don't like that minimalist style. I'd love to hear your ideas on improvement :-)

Comment author: AlasdairGives 20 October 2015 09:39:20PM -1 points [-]

I can believe your logo was designed by a professional (i don't like the colour but its kinda cool)! but i was commenting on your clothing not that in isolation. This? http://www.cafepress.com/intentional_merchandise.1650581204 That is someone with no design skills taking that logo and bastardizing it. Writing a slogan in a microsoft clipart font and replacing one letter with a bit of your logo is not a design. you use font choices that professional designers openly mock.

I love minimalist designs, but your designs are not minimalist in any sense of the term. even your logo is not minimalist. you are very badly miscalibrated if you think minimal is a word that should be used in relation to either your logo or especially this merch.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 02:44:22AM 2 points [-]

I don't have a strong skill in visual language, so I will accept that minimalist is not an appropriate word here, and will update toward avoiding using it. Thanks for helping me update!

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 18 March 2016 02:11:51AM 0 points [-]

We put some shirts together, what do you think? http://www.cafepress.com/intentional_merchandise/13220189

Comment author: [deleted] 02 December 2015 02:07:05PM *  1 point [-]

"Meta is betta"

It's a little specific, recommending meta activities/charities, but I thought it was catchy.

Well...maybe 50% catchy, 50% cheesy.

Note: Will Newsome thought of this slogan before me

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 03 December 2015 11:40:10PM 0 points [-]

Good idea! What are your thoughts on a good graphic to accompany this post?

Comment author: [deleted] 05 December 2015 10:35:49PM 1 point [-]

Maybe associate "Meta" with a machine or another technology, and associate "Betta" with happy people or hearts or something? Show that the machine creates more hearts...? Representing "Meta" as a blueprint might also make sense.

That's all I got.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 06 December 2015 01:55:43AM 0 points [-]

Cool, thanks!

Comment author: AviN 19 November 2015 03:29:57AM *  0 points [-]

Personally, I'd just like a nice looking t-shirt that said "effective altruism" or some other related term for the purpose of provoking conversation.

I have a GiveWell t-shirt and I do like it. A few people have asked about it though I do need to get better at marketing effective altruism ideas in those conversations. So far I have 0 converts, as far as I know.

Avi

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 18 March 2016 02:11:19AM 0 points [-]

We put some shirts together, what do you think? http://www.cafepress.com/intentional_merchandise/13220189

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 20 November 2015 05:45:23AM 0 points [-]

Here are some thoughts about marketing effective altruism. Thanks for the feedback about the t-shirt!

Comment author: mhpage 21 October 2015 01:01:41PM 0 points [-]

I wear the t-shirt from EA Global (San Francisco) all the time. I love the design and actually find it to be a pretty effective way to start a conversation about EA, presumably because only those with interest in the idea ask me about it. I think a more-involved logo might be viewed as more confrontational and therefore less likely to elicit inquiries.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 04:49:44PM 0 points [-]

My goal is to have a shirt option that's effective for those who are not yet interested in effective altruism and would be uncomfortable asking about the word itself. Any ideas on appropriate slogans?

Comment author: mhpage 21 October 2015 04:58:32PM 0 points [-]

The people who ask me about my shirt generally have never heard of effective altruism, but they are sufficiently interested in what "effective altruism" literally suggests to want more information.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 22 October 2015 10:25:30PM 0 points [-]

Gotcha, I think I'm specifically talking about those who are not going to be curious about the term as such, but would want to get into the movement if it was described in a more clear way.

Comment author: EconCow 21 October 2015 11:18:53AM 0 points [-]

I don't have any good ideas, but I think "Doing Good Effectively By Using Reason" is a bit too wordy and clunky for a T-shirt slogan.

Self-promotion: New YouTube video on effective altruism. Please take a look and share if you think it is any good. "The Price of Saving a Life ... is $3,340." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tAaO5KmRFQ&index=2&list=PL0FfKwFuQb2T5tGSKh254JleBGyydQDUR

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 04:47:02PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the feedback!

Comment author: MichaelDello 20 October 2015 10:59:53PM 0 points [-]

"Combining the heart and the mind." or something similar is already in use in EA circles.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 05:02:05PM 0 points [-]

What do you think of "Combining Heart and Head Effectively"

Comment author: adamaero  (EA Profile) 30 May 2018 03:49:54PM -1 points [-]

Here's another link: effectivealtruismapparel.com

I was looking for a dark-colored hat for running. That's one of the most informal ways to bring up EA. I mean, I'm always in an informal setting when when I want to use such a cap. It seems that the cheapest price is $25 for such a hat.

Comment author: MichaelDello 20 October 2015 11:01:16PM -1 points [-]

Overall I like the concept and would personally be happy to wear something EA related to start conversations. I probably wouldn't wear an EA shirt unless at an EA event, but a pin (badges are too in your face in my opinion) or a wrist band might be good.

Comment author: Gleb_T  (EA Profile) 21 October 2015 02:45:25AM 0 points [-]

Cool, thanks for the suggestion! And appreciate the slogan suggestion below :-)

Comment author: MarkFitzpatrick 23 July 2016 05:27:21PM -2 points [-]

(Hello Fellow EAs, I'm running my own fundraiser for AMF, this is what I sent to friends and family to help educate them on EA, none of this is news to this community I'm sure, just posting to provide context for the campaign's messaging and hoping people will forward the link, or purchase a shirt, it's an experiment so any feedback also welcome:)

Hello Family and Friends!

I'm running a fundraiser for the Against Malaria Foundation...the proceeds from 100 (or more:) of these t-shirts will buy 300 bednets (or more:) per thelifeyoucansave‬.org's impact calculator. Here's the link:

https://www.bonfirefunds.com/ts-for-nets

Dr. Christen Lengeler of the Swiss Tropical Institute estimates one life is saved for every 160 bednet years, which would equate to one life saved for every 20 bednets...meaning...we'd be saving 15 real lives (or more!)...all for the price of a few t-shirts...AND helping to spread the word about ‪Effective Altruism‬ by wearing it on our sleeves (for real:).

We CAN make a difference...per a letter by Bill Gates in 2011 on the fight against malaria: "(we're) making very good progress. The death toll, overwhelmingly of young children in Africa, went down from 985,000 in 2000 to 781,000 in 2009. Of the 99 countries with malaria, 43 have decreased cases of the disease by more than 50 percent. Turkmenistan and Morocco were recently declared malaria-free. For these communities the reduction in both death and sickness makes a huge difference. And it is possible only because of increased donor spending, which reached $1.5 billion in 2009."

Thanks for your support!