Zumba’s secret sauce: “Electrifying joy”
Zumba is one of those things, like yoga or “Game of Thrones”, that’s hard to explain to the uninitiated. But one thing’s for sure, it’s a Zumba world and we just live in it.
I first became aware of this when I posted way back in 2009 about the mere possibility of a Zumba video game coming to Wii. That lil’ post on my fledgling blog began getting hits by the hundreds, and is still my most popular post ever.
Then, shortly after I got the game, my first-grader came home and said her teacher wanted to borrow it. I thought maybe they were looking into Zumba for the PE program or something – no, she wanted to try it for herself. Then I started attending weekly classes, at the behest of another school mom, and discovered the “high” of a roomful of people gyrating to Pitbull and shouting “I Love Zumba!” It’s like a cross between a dance party and pep rally, with a little exercise thrown in.
A recent article in Advertising Age talks about how Zumba went from just another infomercial to every-freaking-where (even on my drive to the beach, along roads surrounded by cow pastures and corn fields, there are roadside popsicle signs advertising Zumba classes). The chief marketing officer for Zumba explains that basically, they’re selling the joy of movement rather than the no-pain-no-gain of traditional workouts. He’s also not above self-parody:
“We want to craft an archetype of a Zumba enthusiast. If a yoga enthusiast is a tofu-eating, patchouli-smelling person, the Zumba enthusiast might have the baggy cargo pants, drive a Jeep Wrangler and rip up her clothing,” he said. “We’re in the business of building a community.”
Well, I don’t have a Jeep and the only time I rip my clothing is if I fall down, but this middle-aged mom will take baggy cargo pants over tight yoga pants with no pockets for the pedometer and mp3.
The article says Zumba wants to increase their TV presence, and already they made an appearance on Biggest Loser. Here’s the Zumba clip from TBL:
That clip says a lot about Zumba’s mass appeal. Too many group fitness classes kinda want you to be already thin and fit before joining. With Zumba, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like; just get out there and free your mind and body. If your baggy pants get even baggier, that’s just a bonus.