Gerber selects first spokesbaby with Down Syndrome
It's been a while since you've eaten baby food - I hope - but I'm sure you can still picture the the famous "Gerber baby" logo. The original Gerber baby was Ann Marie Cook. In 1931, a sketch of her face became the company's official trademark, which they used every year until 2010. By then, Ann was 91 years old. That's quite a run! (Ann went on to work as a mystery novelist and English teacher, although she was most well-known for the Gerber artwork.)
Since then, the company has thrown an annual contest to select a new 'spokesbaby.' The winner gets to appear on Gerber's ads and social media channels, as well as collect a sweet prize of $50,000. After combing through over 140,000 entries this year one unique baby stood out - and no, it's not Kylie Jenner's new baby, Stormi. The 2018 spokesbaby is Lucas Warren, a one-year-old boy from Dalton, Georgia. He stood out thanks to his heartwarming smile, and it's actually a historic choice: Lucas will be the first baby with Down Syndrome to join the Gerber Family.
Lucas' parents stopped by The Today Show to discuss the milestone, and explain how important it is to raise awareness for individuals with disabilities. "We're hoping this will impact everyone," said Jason, Lucas' father. "[We hope] that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited. They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else."
Lucas' mother, Cortney, says she entered Lucas in Gerber's the contest on a whim, and never expected him to win. But now she's excited to see him make an impact. "He may have Down syndrome, but he's always Lucas first," said Cortney. "He's got an awesome personality and he goes through the milestones of every child... We're hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he'll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability."
Gerber CEO and president Bill Partyka also stopped by The Today Show to comment on their choice. "Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber's longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby," explained Bill. "This year, Lucas is the perfect fit."
It's important for different identities to be represented in society, and in recent years, individuals with Down Syndrome have reached greater visibility. The first person with Down Syndrome competed in a Miss USA beauty pageant. One boy with Down Syndrome became a fashion brand's latest model. And in one heartwarming story, a girl invited a teen with Down Syndrome to a Homecoming Dance, after he had been cruelly rejected. (And they received a pretty awesome thank you present.) Lucas joins them in raising awareness about a special community.
Sorry, Stormi Jenner! Maybe you'll win Gerber's spokesbaby contest next year!