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Gerber's Pick of New 'Spokesbaby' Sends a Powerful MessageFall in love with this adorable tot who beat 140,000 contestants to become the new Gerber baby.by Kitty Elicay .
All babies are adorable. And irresistible. Which is probably why Gerber, the company famous for its line of baby food, has held successful campaigns for its annual Gerber Baby Photo Search contest, which started in 2010.
This year, the brand is getting a lot of praise for choosing a baby with Down syndrome as its 2018 Gerber Baby. From over 140,000 contestants, 18-month-old Lucas Warren was picked to become Gerber’s “Spokesbaby” for the year.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Gerber made the announcement on Instagram early this morning, and Lucas’ photo has already received more than 40,000 likes. His family also made an appearance at The Today Show in the United States to introduce Lucas to the world and celebrate this significant moment, not just for Lucas's family but for the community of families who have kids with special needs .
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“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Lucas’s mom, Cortney, tells Today. “He loves to play, loves to laugh, and loves to make other people laugh.”
Cortney shared she entered the Gerber contest on a whim after a relative showed her an advertisement asking for submissions. As the announcement instructed, she posted a photo of Lucas on Instagram with the contest’s hashtag but didn’t think too much about it. She and her family never expected Lucas’s mom to win.
Gerber says that it was Lucas’s irresistible smile and happy expression that captured the hearts of the Gerber team.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Bill Partyka, CEO and President of Gerber in an interview with Today. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
While Gerber did not mention Lucas’ condition in their social media post, Lucas being chosen as the first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome sends a powerful message of inclusivity. After all, apart from the $50,000 cash prize, Lucas will also appear on Gerber’s social media channels and will be featured in Gerber ads throughout the year, according to CNN.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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“If brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” Katie Driscoll tells Today.
Katie is founder and president of changing the Face of Beauty, a non-profit organization that advocates equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world,” she adds.
If anything, Lucas’s family hopes that his win can help shed more light on the special needs community.
“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,” Lucas’s dad, Jason, shares during their guesting. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Cortney also wishes that people will recognize Lucas beyond his condition. "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."
Hopefully, more companies and organizations are influenced by Gerber's move and put more efforts in ensuring that kids with special needs and disabilities are well-represented. Good job, Gerber!ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW