In Marketing by Clyde Mooney

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Accountant-turned-publican James Sneddon is set to give away his pub tomorrow in an attempt to revolutionise the treatment of STIs.

Following launch of a campaign earlier this year to give away his Das Hund Haus (The Dog House) German bier café in Hamilton, over 11,000 hopefuls have bought one of the two-for-one meal vouchers that come with five tickets in the big draw for a new owner, taking place tomorrow (31 August).

A qualified accountant, Sneddon quit the trade a few years ago to pursue his dream of owning a bar, opening Das Hund Haus, offering ‘big Bavarian biers in the great outdoors’.

However, in touch with the medical fraternity through his physiotherapist fiancé Pip, the restless accountant saw the need for a more widespread and approachable means for public testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). The tragically low rates of testing in Australia see continued transmission of many diseases and conditions that could be easily treated.

This goal saw the formation of the online Stigma Health, providing referrals to a pathology clinic, thus avoiding the ‘stigma’ of a face-to-face visit to the GP.

The need for funds to get Stigma off the ground brought about Sneddon’s reluctant decision to part with his beer-loving bar, and a clever promotion to find the new owner via a high-profile trade giveaway.

For $25, entrants are technically purchasing a two-for-one voucher at the pub that come with five entries to a draw to win the business. The draw will be done electronically at random, adjudicated by an independent arbitrator.

The winner also receives $30,000 in cash to bridge the takeover, and $10,000 additional bond surety has been given to the landlord.

The business reports annual turnover around $600,000 and the former accountant values it around $200,000.

To date almost $69,000 has been spent on the campaign, including the prize money and bond, as well as permits, promotion and advertising.

Voucher sales close 5pm tomorrow with the draw at 8pm, and the Today Show is slated for an appearance. At time of writing, 11,200 vouchers have been bought and more than 7,000 people have come in to use them, with the pub booked out for the past several weeks.

“It’s been a huge success after loads of effort,” Sneddon told PubTIC. “The feedback has been 98 per cent positive, and we’ve had some truly lovely and inspiring messages. People have enjoyed living a little bit of the dream.

“At least 30 other businesses have asked for my help with an exit hack for their business.”

Despite spending nearly $30k on promotion of the promotion, Sneddon reports the exercise has been a huge benefit to cashflow, assisting the burgeoning Stigma, now boasting over 500 patients, as well as his fiancé’s spinal rehab clinic.

“In selling vouchers and trading to an exit I have enjoyed two boosts to cashflow – both the sale of the vouchers themselves, and the additional business sales the vouchers brought into the business.

“This cash flow has allowed me to set all my affairs right well before the promotion’s conclusion.”

Ending just in time for Stigma’s drive around World Sexual Health Day (4 September), providing its services free for the entire month, Sneddon says giving something away is harder than it seems.

“This has been pretty full on … definitely not easy. But selling a business is never easy.”


Entry to the competition is managed HERE through Sticky Tickets.

Pip Cave and James Sneddon (sporting some Rugby touch-ups)


Das Hund Haus