PRODUCT FOCUS: Zumba Fitness

Ben Parfitt
PRODUCT FOCUS: Zumba Fitness

If you haven’t heard of Zumba the fitness craze, then you soon will. If you haven’t heard of the game, maybe you’re not doing your job properly.

First, the fitness craze. Zumba is a new type of dance/aerobics class that blends Latin music with reasonably easy to follow moves to create a workout that’s supposed to enjoyed rather than endured.

It was started in Columbia in the ‘90s, spread to the States in the Noughties and is now going global in whatever we’re calling this decade. 10 million people take classes at least once a week in 110 countries.
And so, of course, in this all-new motion-controlled games industry, there is a Zumba game.

Released by 505 games back in November on Xbox 360, the Kinect title has surpassed the publisher’s projections, shifting close to 40,000 units to date and growing its sell through every week. It’s currently the second best-selling third party fitness game on the market.

505’s sales director Bob Burridge says: “It’s fair to say that whilst Zumba is a product we knew had potential, the level of its success has outperformed our expectations.

“The fitness sector is hugely competitive, especially since the introduction of various motion controllers, and we have managed to outperform a number of brands that have benefited either from bigger marketing budgets and/or celebrity endorsement.

“From here we’re going to make sure we maximise the momentum we have on Kinect and replicate the success on Wii and PS3 in March. On Wii, in terms of pre-orders, it is 505’s best-performing game ever, and based on this unprecedented level of pre-orders, we are confident that it will enter straight at the top of the Wii chart and be a top three All Format title at launch.”

THE NEXT STEPS

The Wii version arrives today (Friday, March 4th) and hits PlayStation Move on March 25th. Both the new versions come with a belt that holds the controller which then tracks their hip movements as they work out to over 30 different music tracks.

505’s marketing director Alison Mitchell offers: “To take advantage of the ever-growing brand and the momentum being generated by the fans themselves, we are supporting Zumba throughout 2011 with a highly targeted digital strategy.

“The audience for Zumba varies in age so much, ranging from teenagers wanting to learn new exciting dance moves, all the way to mums who don’t have time or disposable income, or are too self conscious to go to their local gym or community centre for a class.

“The one aspect they do all have in common is the fact that they live on the internet, searching for the latest information, videos and tips on Zumba. By targeting their social networks, we’ll raise their awareness of what the game has to offer.

“It’s all about really understanding the consumers behaviour and tapping into that, making them aware of a very relevant product, and not about the about the hard sell.

“It was once thought the Wii market was dying but recent successes have shown that for the right game, women will return to the stores in their hundreds of thousands to get the latest title that resonates with their lifestyle.”

Obviously the Just Dance brand is the highest profile example of a Wii game that blew up from nothing to phenomenon status, taking most of the market by surprise in the process.

Zumba might not shift quite as many units, but it certainly looks like taking a similar path, from relative obscurity to familiar chart fixture, with retail – and Nintendo – hopefully geared up to build on its success.

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