You'll have to look fast to spot the chubby Big Boy mascot in the Marriott Corp.'s new television advertising campaign.
After an award-winning series of commercials last year asked customers to vote on whether the cherub with the giant curl, checkered pants and suspenders should stay or go, customers voted by an 8-to-1 margin to keep the 50-year-old symbol of the family-restaurant chain.
In two new commercials, airing in the Washington area and 50 other markets, a statue of Big Boy is seen briefly in the opening of one of them.
But Marriott officials say there is no plan to phase out the popular talisman.
"Big Boy is not going to be retired, but I can't say that necessarily everything will center on the jolly, rotund fellow," said Marriott spokesman Terry Souers.
Asked whether the Big Boy symbol would be seen in future commercials, Andy Schact, senior account executive at the Bethesda advertising agency that produces the Big Boy commercials, said, "I can't say yes. I can't say no."
Schact, who works for Earle Palmer Brown Cos., said there is a feeling that the Big Boy symbol is a bit outmoded. He said he would not rule out the possibility that the chunky character might be changed.
"We will continue to choose situations when he should be used, and not use him at other times," said Nancy Fisher, a spokeswoman for Big Boy.
The new Big Boy ads center on the restaurants' breakfast menu and its choice of a breakfast bar or individual menu orders.
Fisher said a birthday celebration is planned for the Big Boy symbol this summer.