A former co-worker pointed out an interesting marketing scheme that he ran across the other day in Harajuku. There's an area around Shibuya-Harajuku known as Cat Street - the description I found searching around was this:
明治通りの東側 原宿～渋谷の川を埋め立てた曲がりくねった道 静かでおしゃれな店がちらほらIf you'd like to check it out for yourself, the easiest way to get there is to get off at Harajuku station and walk all the way to the bottom of Takeshita-dori. It's not the main street you hit, but sort of breaks off from there paralleling the main street on the far side away from the station. There's a bunch of weird fashion stores there and a few cafes/restaurants. Here's a list of stores there (link in Japanese).
1.猫の出没が多い、2.猫の額のように狭い、3.「Black Cat」発祥地 など名前の由来に諸説有り
On the east side of Meiji-dori - the twisting path covering the river between Harajuku and Shibuya. It's quiet with a bunch of cool stores here and there. Guesses on how it got its name are: 1. there are lots of cats, 2. it's narrow like a cat's forehead (don't ask me to explain that one...), 3. gets it's name from famous stores like Black Cat, etc. in the area.
Anyway, so lately on Cat Street, a bunch of the bikes that have been left there have started losing random parts, like you see on the right here. What's the deal you ask? Is there some random bum around making a bike part castle somewhere, or did the police forget to bring their truck when they came to confiscate bikes and just decide to take what they could?
Nope, none of the above - the parts have been "borrowed" with a promise to return them even. Here's the caption as it reads on that note you see attached:
Soo... it's just a marketing scheme then? Here's a video - they're still taking entries for anyone interested, so sign up!
RED BULL BOX CART RACE用に
I borrowed your tire (seat).
Dear bike owner,
I have borrowed your tire (seat) for the Red Bull Box Cart Race being held on October 11th, 2009 (Sun.). I will return it after the event without fail.
Details on the event:
the 1st Japan Red Bull Box Cart Race
Date: Oct. 11, 2009, starts at 1pm
Place: Odaiba, Dream Bridge (夢の大橋)
If anyone's actually interested I could have a look at the rules for entry... I think it might be worth at least showing up for to watch. More than that though, the ad scheme is certainly attention grabbing.
Original link my co-worker came across is here (Japanese only).
Edit: pictures and my write-up on the event itself can be found here.