The Genius of the Two-word Brand

Photo: Donald Trump Rally 10-21-16 by Michael Candelori Photography

Tags like “Crooked Hillary,” “Lying Ted,” “Crazy Bernie” and “Little Marco” poured out of Candidate Trump’s mouth every day during the endless 2016 presidential campaign. Trump voters dutifully chanted these puerile, two-word brands–none of them particularly clever–like the crowds in the Mummy movie chanting “Imhotep.”

Since the election Trump has turned the awesome power of his two-word zingers onto his new opponents—the “Mainstream Media,” “Congressional Democrats,” “So-called Judges, Left-wing Protestors, and any other entity that dares to mount a challenge to his authority. Any news story he doesn’t like becomes “Fake News;” any preposterous claim he makes becomes an “Alternative Fact;” the Russia/Trump investigation is a “Witch Hunt;” and the “Failing NYTimes” is always wrong.

Granted, the power of the two-word sentence cannot be denied. Here are some of the best:

Game On                            No Fear                            For Sale
Bring It                               My Bad                            Know Thyself
Have Faith                         Carpe Diem                    Trust Me
Bless You                            Why Me                           God Speed
Full Stop                             Mic Drop                         Case Closed

Some of these simple phrases have been around for centuries, some are relatively new, but they all express a powerful, specific meaning in the briefest possible manner with little or no ambiguity, unlike the phrase “Fake News.”

The real “Fake News” phenomenon began during the campaign, with teen mercenary trolls in Macedonia and perhaps Russian hackers creating websites designed to discredit Hillary Clinton. (1) Trump supporters, seeking bias confirmation of their dislike for Hillary Clinton, embraced these false stories wholesale and virally spread the “Fake News” across the internet, ultimately suppressing Clinton’s support and giving rise to the likes of the “Pizzagate” fiasco. (2)

An American nutritionist named James McDaniels, recently launched a website presenting the most outlandish “Fake News” stories he could concoct just to see if anybody would believe them: one about an impending fallacious Obama coup, one about Hillary’s fictional child-sacrificing proclivities, and another about Obama’s non-existent pedophile ring. In two weeks the website––had received one-million visitors and thousands of likes and shares on Facebook.

“Just for fun, I decided to post some of the stories in Trump fan groups on Facebook to see the reactions,” said McDaniels to the Independent. “To my surprise, the Trump masses embraced my stories as fact, almost universally. It seemed that there wasn’t anything I could write that was too wild or outrageous to be believed by this particular audience.” (3)

According to a recent BuzzFeed poll, about 75% of adult Americans can be fooled into believing fake news stories generated by hired trolls. (3)

Recently Trump’s “War on Truth” has led him to bend and twist the term “Fake News” to mean any story published by the dastardly “mainstream media” that he doesn’t like. He has applied this term to all stories alleging Team Trump’s Russian connection. One recent poll claims that 75% of Trump supporters now believe the Trump/Russian Connection stories to be “Fake News.”

What really astounds me in this looney cartoon version of America is the abject gullibility of Americans. Trump says the Russian stories are Fake News and so his mesmerized, lemming-like followers begin the chant: “Fake News!” “Fake News!” “Imhotep.” “Imhotep.” Despite reports from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and even FOX News to the contrary, a frightening majority of Trump supporters believe Trump when he brands a story as “Fake News.”

But what can you expect from a country that spends 6 times more money on the military than it spends on education?

Here’s a few two-word sentences Mr. Trump will never embrace:

My Mistake
I Lied
I Apologize

The above image was originally posted to Flickr by Michael Candelori Photography at It was reviewed on 22 October 2016 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.


  1. Silverman, Craig & Alexander, Lawrence; How Teens in the Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News; BuzzFeed:
  2. Pizza gate Conspiracy Theory; Wikipedia:
  3. Lusher, Adam; Fake news website created to test Donald Trump supporters’ gullibility – Reveals they will believe anything; Independent:




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