COMMENT: We don't have an iPad 2 or 3DS, but we have got the Venge

Did Specialized just give us a lesson in generating excitement for a product launch?
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It's almost possible that you've missed it, but video game giant Nintendo has launched its latest handheld games console to the world this morning - the 3DS. Like the name suggests, the device is a new version of its hugely popular DS console, only with 3D gaming (plus a lot of other cool stuff).

Of course, that's not the only eye catching launch of the day – Apple has also chosen to release its iPad 2 to the general public today, encouraging geeks, Apple fans and general consumers to spiral out of control with glee and hit the weekend considerably lighter of pocket.

In an industry chock full of brands and iterations of models there is clearly never going to be an equivalent of either the Nintendo 3DS or iPad 2 launch in the bike trade. Both have fueled uncountable column inches, unprecedented forum buzz, and plenty of 'watercooler' chats.

But given just how many brands are fighting for exposure and sales in the bike trade, it's all the more surprising how the launch of Specialized's Venge managed to accumulate hitherto unforeseen levels of buzz.

Surprising, or clever...

The Venge has been years in development, during which Specialized's marketing department has been cooking up a top secret campaign designed to generate buzz for its forthcoming launch (detailed in Carlton Reid's story here).

Specialized had a series of intentional 'leaks' – including releasing a short and sweet ten second video of Mark Cavendish praising the as-yet unseen bike, distributed via social media sites. The firm also timed a print ad for the day of launch, which ran a day or two early before the official launch, further fuelling the fire of speculation.

Specialized senior manager for global marketing said: "We had some publications publishing huge speculations on their websites as fact. But the McLaren association got out at this time, and the gap between what people knew, and what they wanted to know, was massive. This, I think, was the big fuel that pushed this into the category of 'viral'."

By the time the bike was officially unveiled to the press last week, speculation on blogs, social media and comment boards was at fever pitch, paving the way for virtually blanket coverage.

That the Venge is a highly desirable bike helps with that buzz, not every bike gets the pulse racing. And admittedly, the interest in the launch of Venge wasn't really troubling the amounts seen for Nintendo's 3DS and Apple's iPad 2, but nevertheless, it was impressive for the bike industry – a market, as mentioned above, where products have an awful lot of competition.

So, the question is, can we expect to see more bike launches follow in the footsteps of the Venge, with 'leaks', tantilising snippets of info and dealers banned from taking their phones or cameras to sneak previews? Or maybe you've seen another product launch in the industry stir up untold levels of interest, and ideally sales...?

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