For the first time since the contest’s start in the 1920’s, Gerber has chosen a child with Down syndrome as this year’s Gerber baby. Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia is the first child with Down syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the contest’s beginning.
“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Lucas’s mom, Cortney, said his Parents. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
His mother, Cortney Warren, decided to enter her son in the contest on an impulse, after one of her relatives had shown her an advertisement seeking submissions. Cortney and her husband, Jason, decided to post a picture of their darling young boy to Instagram using the contest’s hashtag, and later received feedback that their little boy had been selected out of more than 140,00 entries for the 2018 Gerber spokesbaby competition.
The CEO and president of Gerber, Bill Partka, revealed that it was Lucas’s smile and expression of joy that had captured the hearts of the judges.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Partyka. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
“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.”
Katie Driscoll is the founder and president of non-profit organization Changing the Face of Beauty, they are committed to fighting for equal representation people with disabilities in advertising and media. She believes brands like Gerber have the power to change the future of people with disabilities by valuing the minority as a consumer in their advertising campaigns.
“We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” said Driscoll. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.”
Courtney is hopeful that people will not just see her son as a baby with Down Syndrome, but that they will see the loving, energetic child who loves music and interacting with other people.
“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.”