No doubt the Obama campaign had a great strategy in building interest in his VP selection. Not only did he manage to get hundreds of thousands of cell phone numbers and email addresses he can now use to generate additional donations, but he dominated the news programs for almost the entire week. It put John McCain on the news sidelines and gave him an opportunity to put the Saddleback event behind him.
Hype works, no doubt. But timing in building excitement and interest in any announcement is critical, whether you're dealing with a VP selection or a new product. Trying to maintain the interest and the excitement is one thing, but the end goal is to punctuate that interest and excitement with an announcement that not only lives up to the hype, but builds on it. Start building too early or drag it out too long and it doesn't burst on the scene with a bang as intended.
But did he try to milk it too much? By Thursday morning almost all the commentators and pundits had come to the conclusion that Joe Biden was the selection, so when the announcement came instead of, "Wow! What a great (or lousy, depending on your view of Biden) choice," a common reaction was, "OK, big deal, I figured he was it."
For maximum impact, Obama waited too long. Certainly he was prepared to spice up the speculation by having someone leak out the information that Chet Edwards was on the short list, although no one seems to have taken that bait too seriously.
On the plus side he got the news all to himself for several days. On the downside, ultimately the announcement was something of a letdown for many since they figured the announcement was just a conformation of what they already 'knew.'
Obama's announcement garnered much of what he wanted, and he only missed the peak by hours, but with a just a little better timing it could have had the full impact he was hoping for.
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