Big Boy, the celebrated cherub and media mascot for the Marriott Corp. restaurant chain, basked again in the limelight Saturday night in a gala, black-tie ceremony at the Hyatt Regency/Crystal City to honor the best ad campaigns designed by Washington agencies.

Earle Palmer Brown's Big Boy "Stay or Go" ad campaign -- a multimedia campaign to involve consumers in the company's decision over whether Big Boy should stay, go, or just change his image -- captured the "Best of the Show" award in the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington's annual Addy Award competition, topping a list of more than 800 entries.

The national campaign, begun the night before the 1984 national elections and culminating earlier this year in a landslide vote by consumers across the country to keep the wholesome-looking character, was a huge success, said EPB executives.

"It captured something we had no anticipation of: Big Boy was something of a folk hero," said Don Ratliff, EPB vice president. "We had no idea of the popularity of the symbol. It's a piece of Americana."

Big Boy "symbolized American values, history, better times," said Susan Daugherty, one of the creators of the campaign. "We didn't give him a personality. We held him up and let people decide what he stood for," she said.

"A lot of advertising talks at people. This one gave people some leverage, let them participate," Daugherty said. "It was really an emotional issue."

"Whether people took this seriously or not, we had great stories," said Ratliff, describing reports of Big Boys being taken off the tops of restaurants and held for ransom, of fiery debates on radio talk shows about the fate of Big Boy and of TV personalities launching into diatribes on the issue.

Hal Bonowitz, chairman of the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington and a division sales manager for Time magazine, said the awards show "an incredibly good representation of agencies. . . . Almost every one of the major firms in Washington is a winner."

Winners of this year's competition were:

Sales Promotion. Williams Whittle Assoc. Inc. for Steven Windsor; Earle Palmer Brown Cos. for the American Floral Marketing Council.

Specialty Advertising. KSK for KSK (FIBS).

Print Material. Abramson Associates Inc. for Capital Care (Red Tape); Kershner & Kenyon for Corporation for Public Broadcasting (A Special Kind of Television); Henry J. Kaufman & Associates for Henry J. Kaufman & Associates (Portfolio); Abramson Associates Inc. for Bluemels (White Rabbit); Stackig Sanderson and White for BDM International Inc. (Managing the Course of Change); Stackig Sanderson and White for James T. Lewis Enterprises (PortAmerica); Henry J. Kaufman & Associates for Mike Carberry (Carberry Ad Club Campaign).

Out of Home Media. Goldberg/Marchesano & Assoc. Inc. for IKEA (Find a Seat Bus Card).

Direct Mail. E. James White Co. for Time Life Books (Fix It Yourself); Rosenthal, Greene & Campbell for Bethesda Marriott (SunGlasses); Earle Palmer Brown Cos. for Airbus Industrie (Wine & Cheese).

Business Publications. Govatos Dunn & Borcz for Govatos Dunn & Borcz (Govatos Dunn & Borcz Name-Change Ad); Henry J. Kaufman & Associates Inc. for Universal Air Travel Plan (Air Travel Card, Double Truck Ad); J. Walter Thompson USA for Norfolk Southern Corp. (The Thoroughbred).

Consumer. Abramson Associates Inc. for Fairfax Hospital Association (Sleepless Man); Extension 229 Inc. for Britches of Georgetowne (Last Year We Traveled 337,228 Miles to Save You $12.50 on a Shirt); Extension 229 Inc. for Britches of Georgetowne (Made by Britches).

Newspaper. Abramson Associates Inc. for Fairfax Hospital (Catch a Killer); Extension 229 Inc. for Britches of Georgetowne (World War I Was Hell, Especially When It Rained); Goldberg/Marchesano & Assoc. Inc. for IKEA (Grand Opening); The Washington Post for Arlington Merchants (Labor Day in Arlington).

Radio/60-Second Spots. Abramson Associates Inc. for Arena Stage (Execution of Justice); Henry J. Kaufman & Associates for Selective Service System (Pomp & Circumstance); Extension 229 Inc. for Britches Great Outdoors (Britches Great Outdoors '85).

Television. Goldberg Marchesano & Assoc. Inc. for IKEA (Teaser); Needham Harper Worldwide Inc. for Army National Guard (GI Bill); Ketchum Communications for New Jersey Bell (Nimoy Telescope); Earle Palmer Brown Cos. for Big Boy Corp. (Stay or Go); Earle Palmer Brown Cos. for Big Boy Corp. (Big Dilemma & Celebration).

Public Service. Earle Palmer Brown Cos. for Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Electric Conductor); Abramson Associates Inc. for Germantown Share-A-Ride (Blues); Henry J. Kaufman & Associates for United States Savings Bonds (Some of the Greatest Things); Renaissance Communications Inc. for U.S. Information Agency (Jazz Poster).

Ad Club Promotions. Enten, Sadowski & Jeweler for Washington Ad Club (Orient Yourself Poster).

Advertising Photography. J. Walter Thompson USA for Norfolk Southern Corp. (Keeping the Thoroughbred Fit).

Musical Identification/Jingles. Greer and Associates for United Auto Workers Union (United Auto Workers Union 50th Anniversary -- "Together").

Recruitment Advertising. J. Walter Thompson USA for United States Marine Corps (Faces -- Birthday).

Judges Special Award 1985. Putting on the Glitz, Addy Awards opening film.