The Gerber Baby logo: it’s quite possibly the most iconic representation of an infant ever. Sure, the little rugrat on the Coppertone bottle may give this babe a run for her money, but when it comes to instantly-recognizable brand symbols, we think the Gerber Baby reigns supreme.
Of course, over the years, Gerber has had to re-cast the baby in its commercials, but since her introduction in 1931, the company has continued to use the original debut logo, a decision that still makes the model, 91-year-old Ann Turner Cook, the Gerber Baby to this very day.
How this beloved trademark came to be
The story starts off simply enough, with an up-and-coming artist submitting her work to a drawing contest.
In 1928, Dorothy Hope Smith was at the very beginning of what would be a long art career, when she caught wind of quite the opportunity. A new baby food brand called Gerber was looking for a sketch of a baby that it could use to help promote its business.
Smith jumped at the chance and submitted an original sketch of a neighbor’s infant to the corporation. As they say, “The rest is history”. Gerber loved the artwork so much that it is still prominently featured on its products, with the Gerber Baby continuing to be the face of the company nearly a century later.
The Gerber Baby at 91
All of that nutritious Gerber food must have done the original model a whole lot of good because, even at 91 years of age, she still looks as healthy and happy as she did when she was an infant.
Ann Turner Cook, a mystery novelist and former English teacher, actually managed to keep her identity under wraps until it was publicly revealed in 1978. Before then, she lived a completely anonymous life as an educator, wife, and mother.
Now, just because the company still uses her likeness on almost all of its branding materials doesn’t mean she’s rolling in that Gerber dough.
Quite the opposite, in fact. The most substantial payment she received from the company was when she was a young adult, and it wasn’t much. She won’t reveal the exact figure, but she does say that the cash went towards a car and a down payment on a “modest home.”
Though she’s proud to represent the company, she does have some misgivings about the situation.
For one, she’s made it publicly known that Dorothy Hope Smith didn’t get the recognition that she deserved for her famous sketch. According to Cook, Smith only received a paltry $300 in compensation, pretty measly considering her vision helped make the company so recognizable.
On top of some of her ethical misgivings, Cook also admits that, as a teacher, she probably could have done without her high school students knowing of her famous modeling job.
“These immature students thought this was hilarious,” Cook remembers. “They made my life miserable about it.”
Well, it’s safe to say that all kids can be cruel to their teachers—even if they do happen to be the face of one of the biggest names in baby food!
To meet this iconic model and hear her current take on the famous trademark, be sure to watch the video below. Who knew the Gerber Baby had such a fascinating history?
We can’t wait to hear what you think about this stunning Gerber Baby follow-up. Were you surprised that the Gerber Baby was a little girl? Do you think Dorothy Hope Smith should have received additional compensation for her artwork? What is your all-time favorite iconic logo?