TOKYO: Less than two months since its launch, Japan's first so-called 'marketing cafe' - where consumers try out skincare, beauty or even mobile phone products while sipping their frothy coffees or having a meal with friends - has been deemed a resounding success.

Based in the heart of the trendy Shibuya district, the Lcafe has already persuaded more than 2,000 young, affluent women to exchange their name, age, address and mobile phone details in return for free items.

So far, food, drink, toiletry and electronics manufacturers have offered free samples in return for personal data; allowing them to contact prospective new consumers via their mobiles at a later date.

Aimed specifically at women in their 20's and 30's, the Lcafe was devised by Sample Lab as an innovative way to talk to influential consumers about products new to the market.

In the view of Yuhi Hori, spokesman for the event promotion division of Dentsu, there is, among many marketers, a "fresh interest in samples" at a time when mass market advertising costs are continuing to climb.

Data sourced from the Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff