FLORHAM PARK, N.J., Jan. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Upon reviewing hundreds of thousands of the cutest smiles, most adorable poses and irresistibly squeezable cheeks, Gerber has announced the winner of its Gerber Generation Photo Search! Two-year-old Mercy Townsend of Toledo, Ohio is the grand prize winner of a $25,000 scholarship and will star in a Gerber print advertisement beginning in May 2011.
"I didn't believe it at first," says Mercy's mom, Tahisha Williams-Townsend, when she was notified that her daughter had won. "Our family is ecstatic to see Mercy in a magazine ad and then to receive such a generous scholarship is really awesome. Mercy doesn't understand the extent of what she's just won, but she's excited and goes around saying, 'thank you, thank you.'"
At the beginning of the six month online contest, Gerber judges set out to find children from birth to preschool who demonstrate visual appeal, expressiveness and consistency with Gerber's heritage and its Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ mission to nourish a healthier generation one baby at a time. The child who best fit these criteria would be selected to star in a Gerber Generation advertisement that advocates a healthier future for children through good nutrition. Parents could enter their child by uploading their picture onto Gerber's website.
Mercy's mom entered the contest after seeing it featured on her friend's Facebook page. She uploaded the winning photo, which was taken right after bath time when Mercy was very happy and her curls where extra full and bouncy. Mercy's candid expression and adorable features stood out among more than 217,000 applicants and perfectly represented the healthy-looking, happy-looking child in which the brand was seeking.
"We are thrilled to have seen such an overwhelming response to the Gerber Generation photo contest," says Christina Lawrence, Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Communications, Nestle Infant Nutrition. "With so many adorable 'Gerber babies' to choose from, it was hard for the judges to pick just one. We look forward to working with Mercy, as she will play an important role in helping us communicate our commitment to early childhood nutrition through our successful Gerber Generation marketing campaign."
In mid February, Mercy will travel to New York City for her modeling debut photo shoot. How does Mom think she'll do? "As the youngest of four, Mercy can be shy. But when she hears music she loves to sing and dance – she really gets into it. I can't wait to see how she does at the photo shoot, I'm sure her personality will really shine through."
To view photos of all Gerber Generation Photo Search entrants, visit www.Gerber.com/photo
About the Gerber Generation
The Gerber Generation marketing campaign was born to give a voice to today's children and their desire to live healthier lives. The Gerber Generation can take advantage of the Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Nutrition System of products and resources from birth to preschool that will help put them on the path to healthy eating.
About Nestle Nutrition and Gerber
Nestle Nutrition, part of Nestle S.A., a world leader in nutrition, health and wellness and is dedicated to infant, healthcare and performance nutrition, and weight management. Gerber Products Company, founded in 1928, officially joined the Nestle family on September 1, 2007. Nestle and Gerber's combined resources and scientific research expertise have enabled the company to become a worldwide leader in early childhood nutrition. Gerber produces more than 200 food products, all of which are a part of Nestle's proprietary Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ integrated nutrition system. Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ combines products, educational resources and services that are designed to encourage the early establishment of healthy eating habits in children from birth to preschool.
For more information on Nestle Nutrition and Gerber, visit www.gerber.com.