The Gerber Baby is a much-loved tradition in the food company’s history that spans an impressive 90 years, beginning first as a now-iconic drawing before evolving into a nationwide contest to find the perfect spokesbaby to fill the role.
And now for the first time in the brand’s history, it has chosen a baby with Down syndrome to serve as the Gerber Baby, Lucas Warren, a one-year-old from Dalton, Georgia, who beat out a slew of other hopefuls in order to claim the title.
Now, the adorable tot will feature on all Gerber packaging and in every Gerber advertisement for 2018 and is only the eighth Gerber Baby ever to do so in the.
And Lucas and his family will also receive $50,000 prize money.
Chosen out of 140,000 entries, the judges revealed that the little boy’s ‘glowing and giggly smile’ immediately made him a front-runner.
However, Lucas’ parents, Cortney and Jason Warren, have shared that they only entered their son for ‘fun’ on a whim and had no expectations of winning.
They submitted the photo of him dressed in a green shirt, beige chinos and polka dot dicky bow on Instagram using the contest’s hashtag.
‘He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,’ Lucas’s mom, Cortney, told Today.
‘He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.’
‘We’re hoping this will impact everyone — 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,’ Jason Warren added.
‘They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.’
However, Courtney also revealed that she hopes people will be able to see past her son’s genetic disorder.
‘He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,’ she said.
‘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.’
A sentiment shared by Bill Partyka, CEO, and president of Gerber: ‘Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby.’
‘This year, Lucas is the perfect fit,’ he added.
Gerber’s first national photo contest took place in 1928, selecting Ann Turner Cook to front the campaign until 2010.
The brand then launched its annual Photo Baby Search to celebrate all babies and toddlers.
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