It looks like the Japanese are using barcodes for more than scanning, take a look at how they used barcodes as another place for advertising. Great idea, I don’t see why U.S. companies are not doing this.
This kind of creative barcode design is completely new to me, but apparently it’s quite common in Asia – or at least Japan. Here’s a full gallery of some unusual product barcodes. Please comment if you have seen similar designs in your country (or if you are missing out on them as well).