TAMPA BAY, Fla. (WJW) — Happy birthday to the original Gerber baby!
Ann Turner Cook celebrated her 93rd birthday on Wednesday.
In 1928, when she was just 4 months old, Gerber held a contest, searching for an infant to be featured in their baby food advertising campaign, according to Gerber Life’s website.
Cook’s neighbor, Dorothy Hope Smith, was an artist and entered a charcoaled sketch of Cook to the contest. And, Gerber officials loved it!
Cook’s face appeared on Gerber products beginning in 1928 and became the brand’s official trademark in 1931.
The company says ads and coupons featuring Cook’s angelic face were extremely successful. Within six months of the campaign launch Gerber baby food was being distributed nationally, and 590,000 cans were sold in the first year. Thousands of mothers nationwide were proud to be raising their own “Gerber babies.”
Since then, the sketch has appeared all over Gerber products. Cook’s identity remained a secret until 1978 when she participated in the company’s 50th-anniversary celebration
Now, more than 90 years later, the company is sending well-wishes to Cook as she celebrates another year as a member of the Gerber family.
“Happy birthday to the OG—that’s Original Gerber—baby, Ann Turner Cook!” the company wrote on Facebook. “For over 90 years, it’s been our pleasure to welcome countless babies to our ever-growing Gerber family. Our dedication to each and every generation of little ones has long been part of our heritage, and we’ll always take time to celebrate a true classic!”
Cook was born on November 20, 1926 in Tampa Bay, Florida. She worked as an English teacher for most of her life.