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One-year-old Akil McLeod becomes the face of baby product giants Gerber

BY Preta Peace Namasaba July 8, 2024 7:20 AM EDT

Akil “Sonny” McLeod, a one-year-old Arizona Black boy, has won the 14th annual Photo Search and the 2024 Gerber Baby. His photo and the delight he brings to his family captured the selection committee’s attention, choosing him from a pool of tens of thousands of submissions of babies up to 2 years old. For the first time, parents of previous Gerber Babies were part of the selection process.

“Every day it’s an honor to watch Sonny conquer so many tiny achievements, from giggles to trying new foods, to standing up and everything in between. He’s a light in our lives and brings joy to everyone around him. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate his first birthday than to be chosen as the 2024 Gerber Baby. We look forward to all the adventures in the year ahead collaborating with Gerber to share his sweet smile with families across the country,” said Dominque, Sonny’s mom.

Sonny and his family have been awarded a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to one year, and a new wardrobe provided by Gerber Childrenswear. They have also received prizes from Brooklinen, Canon, Little Tikes, Motherhood Maternity, and others. As the 2024 Gerber Baby, Sonny will be featured on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns throughout the year. Gerber will match Sonny’s cash prize with a donation to support March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs.

Sonny’s mother, Dominque entered him into the contest without telling anyone. She was inspired to apply by people who constantly told her that Sonny looked like a Gerber Baby. She submitted a photo featuring him smiling with a fitting sunshine mobile hanging in the background. Despite believing Sonny could win, the family realized that he stood an actual chance in the competition when he became a finalist. The news of his victory and the experiences that followed have nonetheless been shocking.

“Sonny has a smile and unique presence that should be shared. He lights up every room he enters! I think it’s important to share love and positivity, and our family feels the importance of that every day with Sonny. If even just one person’s day is made better by seeing our sweet Sonny, that’s something worth celebrating,” said Sonny’s father, Akil.

The highly accomplished baby loves reading his squishy ABC book, playing with toy cars, and watching football with his family. Affectionately nicknamed Sonny for his sunny disposition, Sonny lights up every room he enters. He gets giggly when people make silly faces at him or when he plays Peekaboo with his sister. Sonny will support Gerber’s mission to help babies everywhere continue to grow with love.

The Photo Search, launched in 2011 was inspired by the numerous photos sent by the parents of babies that resembled Gerber’s original baby logo. The early childhood nutrition leader introduced the iconic baby logo in 1928 when it began its baby food campaign. This logo was eventually adopted as Gerber’s official trademark in 1931.