Tonight the Night Owl is a little cuter and sweeter than usual…
In 1928, Dorothy Hope Smith submitted a charcoal sketch she had drawn of five month old Ann Turner to a contest the Fremont Canning Company was running. They sought drawings of babies for the ad campaign for their new product: Gerber Strained Foods. Dorothy’s simple sketch was chosen with no changes requested in spite of her offer to finish it (she was a professional illustrator) and within 60 days after the ad appearing in Good Housekeeping had gained national recognition. In a 1998 survey, the iconic trademark logo has been associated with the highest consumer loyalty.
The identity of one of the most recognizable babies in the country was finally revealed to the public in 1978. Turns out she was a elementary and jr high English teacher, teaching literature and creative writing. She became a novelist after retiring from teaching, writing the Brandy O’Bannon series of mystery novels.
— Ann Nyberg (@AnnNyberg) June 5, 2018
Ann Turner Cook is now 91, having been the Gerber Baby from 1928 until 2011. Since then, the company has chosen a new Gerber Spokesbaby every year.
The 2018 Spokesbaby is especially notable, in addition to being absolutely adorable, for being the first baby with Down syndrome to represent Gerber. His name is Lucas Warren and he is from Dalton, Georgia. In a statement, the CEO of Gerber told how Lucas won the photo contest in a statement shared by USA TODAY.
“Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby,” Bill Partyka, president and CEO of Gerber, said in a statement. “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby, and this year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Today reports Lucas’ parents’ reactions. His dad, Jason, explains his hope for his son’s new role in impacting how the world sees special needs children.
“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,” dad Jason Warren said. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Cortney, Lucas’ mom, submitted his picture on a whim.
Cortney says she hopes her son will be seen not only as a baby with Down syndrome, but also as a funny, energetic child who loves music and socializing.
“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.”
The first Gerber Spokesbaby with Down syndrome deserves a couple videos here, so meet Lucas.
Now, for what prompted this whole post…
What happens when the original Gerber baby meets the newest Gerber Spokesbaby? Cuteness that makes Twitter pause and say, “Aw…”, that’s what.
Chris Collin, grandchild of Ann Turner Cook, tweeted this picture of the two when they met last week.
My grandmother was the Gerber baby. It was a funny bit of trivia, never made her rich or got us free strained peas or anything. But last week she got to meet the company's newest spokesbaby, named Lucas. Pretty pretttty cute. pic.twitter.com/u7ddWaM1Ed
— Chris Colin (@chriscolin3000) June 4, 2018
The Gerber Facebook page has a message from Ann to Lucas, welcoming him to the family.
“I am delighted to take part in this celebration. Lucas is precious and I look forward to watching him grow this year!”
How special is it for Gerber to have chosen a special needs child to be their Spokesbaby? At a time when the argument is being made that Down syndrome babies shouldn’t be around, Gerber destroys that argument and shows the world how beautiful Lucas and every Down’s child is.
No doubt a weird and wacky Night Owl will be up for your late night enjoyment tomorrow, but in the meantime…
If you haven’t expired from the overload of cute in this post, feel free to tell us about baby food disasters, how precious Down syndrome kids are, grandmas, or whatever else floats your boat.