New year, new Gerber baby!
After more than 110,000 applicants, a judging panel selected the absolutely adorable Riley Shines to be the 2017 Gerber spokesbaby. And on Thursday, he was introduced to the world.
Chosen for his "expressions and visual appeal, as well as how well he’d represent the brand," the seven-month-old from Columbus, Ohio not only took home the coveted title, but also a $50,000 cash prize (that will go towards his college funds), $1,500 in Gerber Childrenswear, and the chance to star in a 2017 Gerber ad.
"People will stop us and say, 'He needs to model,'" Riley's mom, Kristen, told Us Weekly. "I’ve always joked around that my goal is to get his face on a diaper box, but this is way bigger and better!"
And it seems like Riley, who is described as "laid-back," already has his modelling career down pat. His father, Devin, jokes that his baby is such a flirt and embracing the female attention from fame.
"He’s not going to want to talk to us anymore," Devin joked with People.
Kristen added, "He’s flirty to begin with, so I think he’s excited to have more ladies to flirt with."
Last year, little Isla Welch took home the top prize and stolen our hearts with her chubby cheeks in the process.
And the original Gerber baby who began this cute tradition? That's Ann Turner Cook. She was the winner of a national contest back in 1928. Cook’s neighbour, Dorothy Hope Smith, was the artist who drew the original sketch and won. The image then helped launched the brand and by 1931, it became Gerber’s official trademark.
While the brand's iconic logo will never be replaced, the Gerber Baby Photo Search was reintroduced in 2011.
“At Gerber, we recognize that every baby is a Gerber baby and look forward to choosing a little one to represent us each year through our annual Photo Search,” Senior Media Marketing Manager Tortorella said.
All we know is that year after year, we just can't handle the cuteness.
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