Learning to Lunch Jam BY ARNOLDO OFFERMAN

May 19, 2012 by Arnoldo Offermann

School DJs all over the nation have latched on to the idea of playing music in the middle of lunch to promote a homecoming or prom. Many DJs debate on pricing and what makes it an effective ROI.

Before I begin discussing such, I want you to imagine a bridal show consultant who contacts you:

“I was curious if you’d like to participate in XXXXX Bridal Show. You will be the ONLY DJ there. The brides will hear you mix music and MC right then and there.

” Hmm. Sounds good!

“Oh wait, there’s more. It’s free!

” HECK YEAH! SIGN ME UP!

“Actually, can we pay you to show up?”

Pinch me!

From now you, I want you to accept the idea of a lunch jam as a bridal show. However, instead of marketing to brides, you are marketing to teens. 4SchoolsOnly enjoys many Sweet 16, Quince, and other bookings that are a result of lunch jams.

XXX

Let’s explore the ins and outs of lunch jams and the best way to maximize the potential these offer to all parties involved.

First, you have to establish your pricing. Unless you’re doing a multiple am contract, roll this into your package and tell your client it’s free. Heck, even if you toss one in, you’re still getting free advertising to the teenagers. Have a weekday job? Ouch—that could hurt. Hire a second DJ who can work weekdays for you. (Otherwise, skip this article—ha, ha.)

We have two schools that do a lunch jam EVERY month of the school year. They take advantage of the “power” it holds to advertise other dances, fundraisers, or just raise school spirit. These contracts have sent us quite a few events from students who see us every rmonth. I LOVE getting paid to advertise!
For now, we’ll chat about doing a lunch jam to advertise a homecoming or prom. The first thing you’ll want to do is tell the school to advertise the lunch jam as a “Pre-Prom Party” or “Pre-Homecoming Party.” After all students have NO idea what a lunch jam is; plus a “jam” sounds more like a rock concert than a DJ appearance.

The school should be advertising this event as a chance to request music for the big dance and hear their DJ mixing music live. Perhaps a giveaway of some sort could be done. “Buy your tickets that day and someone will get their money back or win a second ticket.” Perhaps you could do a freestyle dance contest or a contest that integrates your Facebook page or a custom age made just for the school dance.

Meanwhile you will begin prepping with three basic things:

1) A ready-to-go playlist of music of HOT HITS. You will NOT play entire songs. With 20-45 minute lunches, you will play a minute or less of each song. You will overload them with a list of hot songs and blow their minds!

2) Giveaways. Well, maybe. I’ve seen several companies who give shirts away, but I just can’t imagine my high school friends wearing a shirt of a DJ company they’ve never heard of before. Personally, I don’t even bother with it and see it as a quick way to get people temporarily excited. If you want to do them, go for it. We’ve never done it though.

3) Business cards! Yes, a card with your Facebook page and a Facebook Event Page (use a short URL or a custom URL to forward thereto) for the big dance. Tell the students these are “tickets” to get your requests in right away! Yes, it may cost you $50 to get them ordered for each school, but it’s still cheaper than $500 for a bridal show. We do so many lunch jams, and many get the date approved last-minute, that we have a generic card that we fill out the info manually or we print out labels and stick ‘em on. This can be a bit of work but the advertising benefits are mind-blowing!

You will then contact the teacher in charge (sponsor) and check on your set-up location. Make sure there aren’t classes nearby that will be disrupted by the music and make sure that day isn’t a testing day. If you’re nowhere near a classroom, feel free to bring a subwoofer and really rock this dance!

Get the schedule of lunches as well as what classes will be at each lunch.

XXX

So you’re all set up and the bell rings. Immediately drop in a hot song that gets people talking and going crazy. I’ve used everything imaginable, a squeaky-clean version of “Rack City,” or “The Motto” has worked really well this year. Don’t start the hyping just yet because many are going to grab lunch first. They’re hungry, ALWAYS remember that!

Keep building up your playlist with big hits but don’t say anything for about 5-7 minutes. Some students know why you’re there, others are going to wonder, so let that mystery simmer for a bit. When ready, and you’ll feel this perfect moment (it’s hard to describe), bust a really upbeat song (“Party Rock,” for example) and make a shoutout to the classes there. “Seniors, 2012, where ya’ll at?” Have fun watching the whole room explode as you shoutout to all the classes. Start with the smallest classes at that lunch period and build up to the largest one there.

Now you can introduce yourself. “In case you’re wondering why I’m here, it’s because *I* am the DJ for your 2012 Prom!” They cheer. This year, XXXX School will be hosting the BEST prom in XXX County!” Cheers.

Now throw in some info on tickets and sales, etc. If the lunch period is mostly seniors, throw in: “Trust me, this prom is going to be SO hot because CLASS OF 2012 WILL ALL BE THERE!” Bam! Now you’ve got them eating out of the palm of your hand. Play the “Cupid Shuffle.” Let them jam out for a bit to the song. Slam a few quick dance hits right after: “The Jerk,” “Teach Me How to Dougie,” “Wop,” even “The Wobble.” Do two or three of those one right after the other, but remember, don’t do more than a minute each. Tell them how they need to come get a request card so they can request music for prom TODAY! In Florida, we have a lot of ethnic groups, so I always hit up each one just a bit. “Where my Latinos at? You know I got your stuff locked down, too: Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, and Reggaeton!” I do a quick reggaeton song and watch them go nuts. After a bit I’ll slam into a reggae song (“Hot Wuk” by Mr. Vegas, for example) “…

and I got some hot dancehall for my islanders, too! Shoutout to my Trinis, Jamaicans, and all the other islanders!” This squashes worries about the DJ not playing music they they like to dance to and thus helps sell tickets. Now drop in a dubstep (if it works in your area). If you’ve built a dance crowd, you may see people doing dance circles to the dubstep track as they show off to their peers. Continously shout out the classes and grades there. My main point is that you need these students screaming and dancing throughout the entire lunch. It pays off, as students talk about how great the DJ was. Make sure to push people to grab those cards so they can request music online. End two minutes before the bill rings. Get them to calm down a bit but to cheer about prom! The admin will love you for ending this without chaos. To sum up, the steps to a successful Lunch Jam: 1) After some eating…lots of hyping. Get the students screaming. 2) One hit after the the other—get them dancing! 3) Promote ticket sales. 4) Promote the web page. 5) Rinse, lather, repeat. (You have more than one lunch!) Treat these lunch jams as if you were to squish prom into 20 minutes. Cram that energy into that amount of time and you will succeed! Now go rock that food pyramid!

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Arnoldo Offermann Arnoldo Offermann (39 Posts)

Arnoldo Offermann is the president of 4SchoolsOnly, a national phenomenon in school dances. In a market where DJs cry about $500 school DJs, 4SO sees 10-20x that price tag per event. Arnoldo is also the creator of Master School Dances, the leading educational tools for DJs wanting to get into this great market. He is a sought-after speaker, reviewer, and DJ tech-writer. You can learn more at http://MasterSchoolDances.com


Filed Under: Issue #142, Issues from 2012