The Hokie Bird might have some competition after the “Invent the Future” Horse on a Treadmill caused a viral sensation at the football game on Saturday.
During the football game versus Maryland, Tech fans were both surprised and ecstatic to see the Horse on a Treadmill three different times in the university's commercial.
The galloping horse was already a popular part of the halftime ad spot during the football games, but on Saturday it became even more famous when it was shown three times in each commercial during the game.
Gabrielle Minnich, electronic communications supervisor for Visual and Broadcast Communications in University Relations, was the architect behind the special edition of the ad.
“The students and alumni seemed somewhat affectionate about us using (the horse) through social media,” Minnich said. “We just wanted to make people happy during the last football game.”
The clip was shown three times in each ad because, according to Minnich, “the rule of comedy is that three times is the perfect amount for a joke to be funniest.”
The ad was shown throughout the game. It first appeared in the first quarter after the first timeout, then again at the end of halftime.
Nick Butler, a freshman international studies major, was in the stands when the commercial was playing.
“I thought it was hilarious, they had a really good sense of humor about it,” Butler said. “Everyone around me was laughing because we knew it was a joke.”
Despite the outcome of the game, some Tech fans that watched their last home football game as students still had something to look back on positively.
"I think it really shows how much Tech cares about the students having an enjoyable time at the sporting events," said Paige Waltz, a senior interior design major. "The game was pretty upsetting but (the commercial) is definitely something I saw as a highlight."
Currently, a petition is circulating around social media for a Horse on a Treadmill logo to be featured on the helmets for the UVa game, with over 1,000 supporters having signed so far.
Minnich explained that the ad was intended to be more of an inside joke for the Tech community and “showing it on the jumbotron (for the Maryland game) was the perfect way to (do) it.”
The ad was never sent to the NCAA for any sort of televised viewing because it was purely meant for the fans in Lane Stadium to enjoy.
The horse in the video was performing a test on a high-speed treadmill to show how well its respiratory system was performing at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
There is uncertainty whether the clip of the horse will be shown again, but Minnich notes that, if it’s never shown again, “she sure went out on a strong note.”