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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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This Dublin guy's parody account brilliantly trolled the Pope with his Olympics tweet

Well played, everyone.

Rio Olympic Games 2016 - Day Six Source: David Davies

OVER THE PAST few weeks, you may have heard talk about Rule 40, a rule inn the Olympic Charter that prohibits athletes being used for advertising purposes during the Olympic games.

Among other things, the rule forbids athletes from tweeting about their sponsors during the Games or third party brands not affiliated with the Olympics from tweeting about athletes or the competition.

Last week, an account named @official_rule40 popped up on Twitter

c6e05c98-8787-4d2c-b425-ba29fc469389 Source: Eight Twenty Social

The account stated that it was sending automated alerts for infringement of official Olympic guidelines.

And so when a prominent public figure tweeted about the Games using the official #Rio2016 hashtag, the account would send a tweet to this effect:

unnamed Source: Eight Twenty Social

People loved it.

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After all, what’s not to love about a Twitterbot telling Donald Trump to remove his tweet?

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Their tweet to Pope Francis really captured Twitter’s imagination.

Over the course of 24 hours, it sent 47 tweets to people like Donald Trump, Pope Francis and Ted Cruz, urging them not to use Olympic protected terms.

Only problem? It was totally fake and Twitter quickly moved to suspend it.

The cunning mind behind it? That would be Irishman Michael Corcoran of Dublin digital agency Eight Twenty Social.

Corcoran stated that he simply “spotted an opportunity and rode the wave”.

I fully expected to be shut down quickly, ironically I was infringing on International Olympic Committee copyright using the official logo while creating RioBot, but that was key to the execution at first glance to make it look authentic.

The account’s finest achievement? It successfully convinced Ted Cruz that it was real and forced him to delete his #Rio2016 tweet.

Corcoran stated that the purpose of the account was to draw attention to the restrictions Rule 40 places on brands and athletes alike.

Rule 40 has caused frustration for many (including myself) working within the industry, facing missed opportunities for brands to activate around the games. I always enjoy a creative challenge, but no mention of medals, podiums, sports, summer, any of the countries, team or athletes has made it nigh on impossible to create compelling work.
On a much more important level, understanding the work that the athletes put in (often on a shoestring budget) for four years to prepare themselves for what can be the biggest day of their lives, this rule seems particularly unfair.

Well played, everyone.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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