Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam- kuen's unannounced blitz at the weekend to get the public to "act now" on the political reform package drew a mixed reaction.
Tsang led principal officials around the city aboard an open-top bus on Saturday in an attempt to drive up public support for the reforms.
But the government did not announce the event beforehand.
Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing agreed with the aims of the offensive, but said it could have been better staged and coordinated.
Hong Kong Journalists' Association chairwoman Mak Ying-ting accused the chief executive of depriving the public of the right to know about Saturday's event.
Unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan said Tsang probably kept the event under wraps out of fear of disruptions by protesters.
Tsang, Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung and other bureau chiefs travelled from Admiralty across the city.
Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang Ying-yen and Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah led another team starting from Kowloon Bay.
They also handed out pamphlets, and used a Chinese slogan, "Weigh anchor" to signal it is about time for democratic development to getting back on course.
Former National People's Congress deputy Ng Hong-man said Tsang's strategy will be ineffective and urged him to focus on negotiations.
But Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Rita Lau Ng Wai- lan said the event gave her the chance to explain the proposals to the public.
Meanwhile, Britain's minister of state Jeremy Browne said London welcomed recent talks between Beijing and the pan-democrats.
"We understand many people in Hong Kong may be disappointed the government's proposals for the 2012 elections do not go further towards the ultimate aim [of universal suffrage]," he said.