Ted DiBiase Jr. recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard about the launch of 16Creative, a multi-focus branding agency that offers help to wrestlers, athletes and veterans looking to build their own brands online. A ten-year veteran of the ring himself, DiBiase teamed with former Marine David Keller and Navy veteran Jared Ashley for the project, and the roster already includes names like wrestling legend Junk Yard Dog and former veteran/actor R. Lee Ermey.
“We hooked up at a charity golf tournament up in Akron, Ohio, raising money for a children’s hospital up there. And so anyway David is one of the guys that was helping [Jared] manage his stuff online, and he does that for a lot of artists in Nashville and the country music scene. And we got to talking and we just really haven’t done well at all or had any success online,” DiBiase explained, “so they were like, ‘let’s talk.’ And we got to talking one day about my dad’s stuff, I’m like, ‘you know, the “Million Dollar Man” could be like a Betty White,’ and he really just needs to be revised and brought to life and really get the credit he deserves.
“And so that was the goal, was to help him really monetize his brand and the platform he built, not just monetize but promote what he’s invested in and what he’s doing today and his ministry work and the great work that he does. So it just turned into a business venture,” DiBiase said. “There are so many other guys that need this once they leave WWE or wrestling, [they say] ‘well what now?’ There’s the signings and the bookings but in this day and age, everything lives online.”
DiBiase explained how 16 Creative offers design resources and product development resources to retired athletes of all walks, some of which had careers before the social media age.
“That older generation, like my dad’s age, they’re like, ‘what’s Twitter?’ Some of them, they get it, but as far as how to capitalize on that and build campaigns, they’re just not gonna do it. We want to do that for them so their legacy lives on, they can have a life outside the ring, more successful, more engagement with the fans, enhance their communities, give more access to them, and more opportunity for them as well.”
DiBiase isn’t just working with living athletes, but also works with family estates like the one established by the family of Sylvester Ritter, aka Junk Yard Dog. JYD and DiBiase Sr.’s relationship dates back to the Mid-South era of wrestling, and Ted Jr. explained
“He was my dad’s best man at his and my mom’s wedding. God bless his soul, he passed away, fell asleep in the car at the wheel, leaving his daughter’s graduation years ago. But he’s still a known name, and anybody’s who’s a true fan and knows that era remembers my dad’s Mid-South days and they know JYD. So we just want to do him justice,” DiBiase explained, “we want to give his family something that they can be proud of and tell the story and build community and there’s a lot of guys that really love JYD.
“He was an incredible entertainer and wrestler, but an incredible father [and] man as well. So we’re excited to be able to do that, it’s a way to serve. That’s what these guys—I love working with them because that’s what they’re all about, they serve. They protect our country,” DiBiase explained, “and now we’re protecting the legacy and the names of guys that sometimes feel left behind. There’s a lot of guys that we’d love to get going soon and partner with and we’ve got some announcements in the future.”
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