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Zumba Releases New Latin Music Video

CEO Says He Wants Zumba to Act More Like a Media Platform

By: Rupal Parekh

Zumba is giving itself the MTV treatment.

The company behind the popular dance-workout classes last week released a music video on Vevo for a song called “Zumba.” It’s part of a strategy that the company’s CEO Alberto Perlman says he hopes will see Zumba transform from a fitness brand into a broader entertainment and media platform.

While Zumba has previously made dance videos for songs used in its classes, the new video uses a track released this past April by Latin pop artist Don Omar that doubles as a promotional tool, dropping the name of the brand several times throughout. It ties into Zumba’s video fitness game on Xbox and Nintendo Wii as well.

When the company began via informericals in 2001, it couldn’t have foreseen evolving into a more sophisticated marketer, something that’s happening now as a result of cult following and its explosion into a giant branded empire (as Ad Age reported earlier this year, when reporter Alexandra Bruell took a class with the company’s chief marketer.)

In the past six years it has expanded its marketing budget to more than $50 million from just $2 million. Zumba reports more than 14 million weekly class participants in over 140,000 locations across more than 150 countries. That scale has allowed Zumba to begin explore revenue opportunities beyond its fitness classes, including DVDs, apparel and its video game.

Artists like Pitbull and Wyclef Jean have teamed up with Zumba, meanwhile, to seed and popularize their music with the folks who take classes.

Mr. Perlman’s plans for the company are designed to avoiding the trap of going down as a short-lived workout craze. He wants Zumba to be responsible for launching new artists, creating music videos, selling compilation CDs and rolling out more of its live class experience under the rubric of “Fitness Concerts.”

“Zumba started off as a fitness program and then went to entertainment,” Mr. Perlman said.

The greater range of activities will help Zumba strike more partnerships with marketers, Mr. Perlman predicted. One big score for the company came when Unilever approached Zumba in 2011 to help it push Degree Deoderant to women; it’s the type of deal he’d like to replicate with more global marketers.

The new music video is entirely in Spanish, so is this a play to bring more Hispanic consumers to classes? Not necessarily. But Mr. Perlman said he’s conscious of not just marketing to English speakers, one reason Zumba classes play songs in various languages. Zumba now has writers and producers in Brazil working on new songs in Portuguese. Others are creating tracks in Hindi based on Bollywood rhythms.

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