Gerber Chooses Boy with Down Syndrome as its Spokesbaby

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. stand out / stænd aʊt / (phrasal) – to be noticeable or notable compared to someone or something

    She stands out in the crowd because of her bright yellow dress.

  2. embody / ɛmˈbɒd i / (v) – to represent something in a clear or obvious way

    People say he embodies real joy because he always makes people happy.

  3. garner / ˈgɑr nər / (v) – to receive something

    She garnered admiration from the audience because of her beautiful voice.

  4. raise (one’s) consciousness / reɪz ˈkɒn ʃəs nɪs / (idiom) – to make someone know about something

    The organization aims to raise people’s consciousness on the importance of animal protection by making a popular documentary about it.

  5. in the spotlight / ɪn ðə ˈspɒtˌlaɪt / (idiom) – at the center of attention

    The 12-year-old child came in the spotlight after being featured in a documentary.


Read the text below.

A baby with Down syndrome won this year’s Gerber photo contest. After winning the contest, eighteen-month-old Lucas Warren was hailed as the newest Gerber Spokesbaby.

Gerber Products Company, an American company that manufactures baby food and products, started its annual photo search in 2010. This year is the first time that the company chose a baby with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects an individual’s development, physical appearance, and mental capabilities.

Gerber CEO Bill Partyka said that Lucas’ picture stood out among more than 140,000 submissions because of his captivating smile and delighted look. Partyka also mentioned that Lucas was chosen because he embodies the company’s belief that every baby is a Gerber baby.

As a prize, Lucas’ family received $50,000. Aside from garnering the title of Gerber Spokesbaby, Lucas will also be featured on Gerber’s social media channels throughout the year. Lucas’ mother, Cortney, hopes that this opportunity will raise people’s consciousness about how people with special needs are capable of positively influencing the world.

Lucas is not the first baby with Down syndrome who came in the spotlight. In December 2016, a toddler with Down syndrome named Asher Nash also became viral on the Internet. His mom, Meagan, submitted his photos to a local modeling agency in hopes that Asher will get a chance to be a model for a children’s clothing brand. However, the agency representative said that babies with special needs do not qualify for the brand’s casting call.

Feeling disappointed, Meagan posted Asher’s photos and story on a non-profit organization’s Facebook page. Shortly after this, the post went viral. Since then, many companies have asked Asher to be their model.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Is Gerber’s move to choose Lucas as the ‘2018 Spokesbaby’ a good promotional campaign? Explain.
• Should more companies follow Gerber’s promotional campaign? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some companies gear towards diversity when choosing models?
• How else can companies promote diversity in their promotional campaigns?