New Hampshire voters probably thought they’d stumbled upon a maverick when they came across a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader for U.S. Congressional candidate Jon H. Ryan (that star is just a space, right?). Who was this tall, bespectacled drink of water, and what was he “listening” to? More importantly, what could he do for the Granite State?
The answer to that last question is obviously nothing, as the man pictured above is Jonah Ryan, Timothy Simons’ character on HBO’s Veep, who is currently making an ill-advised (to put it mildly) run for Congress in the show’s fifth season. But given the frightening authenticity of Jonah Ryan for Congress website, it was only a matter of time until Jonad’s—sorry, Jonah’s—campaign broke into the real world. And since there are still some print media diehards out there, the New Hampshire Union Leader ran the above image as a full-page ad.
It’s a simple ad, but it works on multiple levels. It replaces Ryan’s gap-toothed smile—which is just begging to be used in a smear ad about things “falling through the cracks” on his watch—with a look of rapt attention. The left hand in the pocket conceals his marital status, thereby allowing fantasies of being his running “mate” to run wild. Meanwhile, the right hand is slightly cupped near his ear, signaling his interest in the reader/voter’s concerns, but is left just open enough to serve as a greeting wave. Finally, the “New Ideas For Now” slogan suggests an ingenuity and flexibility he will probably never have to deliver on, since there’s a scant chance he’ll be elected (also, the campaign is fictional). So those focus group people can suck it.