Monday, June 10, 2013

Big Brands that Stand the Test of Time

Bob's Big Boy Mascot West Coast Version at Capitola Car Show in California
My specialization is branding for top-tier food and beverage brands. I’ve named products, companies and services in most categories, but food is my favorite arena.

Building a food brand with iconic status, including a mascot character, has always felt friendlier by nature. It greets you and adds valuable engagement with the brand. One of my favorites is Big Boy.

I grew up when eating out was a special treat, not an every day thing. Our meals were home centered and traditional, so getting a burger out was quite special.

Going to the Mainliner Frisch’s Big Boy in Cincinnati was fun. It was a drive-in restaurant where we would all pile into the station wagon and enjoy a family meal in the car. A Big Boy with fries and a chocolate shake. Wow, what delicious fun for all. 

How did the name Big Boy® come in to being?  Bob’s Big Boy, Home of the Original Double Decker was born in 1936. Bob Wian had dreams of buying a hamburger stand in Glendale, California and had to sell his prized DeSoto Roadster to do it. The first name was Bob’s Pantry…but not for long.

A year later, a customer asked for something new. Being a regular, Bob got busy with his new creation and the double-decker burger was on its way to being famous.

One young boy who helped Bob clean up around the restaurant wore droopy overalls. This chubby six year old would get a free hamburger in exchange for his work—but who would know that in honor of him, a mascot would be created. Bob Wian was lucky enough to have another regular customer (a movie studio animator) sketch this happy character on a napkin and create one of the most famous burger icons in history.

The Big Boy came to life one day when Wian, trying to come up with a name, greeted his friend with, “Hello, Big Boy” struck a chord, and the Big Boy name was born. The character has gone through a few changes over the years. There are East Coast and West Coast versions of the Big Boy mascot. The one pictured is the West Coast version. The East Coast version, created for Dave Frisch, is slimmer with a side cap and the Big Boy in a skipping posture.

Today, Big Boy is Big Boy Restaurants International LLC. Big Boy International and Frisch's now are co-registrants of the Big Boy® name and trademark but have no other affiliation.

TIP: If you want a make it at home, Big Boy of your own…Frisch’s Tartar Sauce is one of the best of the best. You can order it by calling (513) 761-1242 or by writing or visit

Photo taken at The Capitola Car Show in Capitola, California

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