You know, in this day and age, the "Early Bird" concept is completely and totally asinine. The whole reason it was done in 1977 was because Kenner didn't have anything ready because they underestimated demand. Also, back in the day, there wasn't anything else on the shelves at all, so the concept wasn't such a bad one (if a bit audacious).
Now, they're going to have thousands of toys in a single aisle at Wal-Mart that mom and dad can actually buy for their kids *right now* and they decide to sell an envelope with a coupon for 30 bucks to this same parent for their kid? As much as I love SW, with my current financial situation (which will only worsen by this time in two weeks), I can't justify paying 30 bucks for a piece of paper that says I'll get something in six weeks. I can only imagine that parents will feel even more adamant about this.
The Early Bird offer in 1977 is now infamous (and hell, Gary Kurtz even points out how audacious it was on the "Empire of Dreams" documentary) because it offered something that was in great demand but in short supply. An Early Bird offer in 2005 is even more audacious because it is offering something that has dwindling demand and an absolute metric ton of supply.
As for the Clone Wars thing, the Clone two-packs were done at the last moment because WM was threatening Hasbro with not carrying the line (at that point it was thought to be an entirely separate line and case assortment from the regular assortments). Hasbro kind of extended the olive branch by giving them that exclusive two-pack thing, but WM still did not carry the vehicles or deluxe figures for the CW line: only the basic figures and the lightsabers. How someone at WM, the panderer of all things immediate and cheap, thought that a 30 dollar envelope would be a good idea for an exclusive is beyond me.