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It's belated, but we wanted to make sure we had some confirmation before publishing this. Today we pay our respects to adidas CMO Hermann Deininger who passed away on May 18th. Deininger, 54, apparently died from heart issues.
More, according to Achtung-Mode, the only English language obituary I could find:
Hermann first entered adidas as an intern aged 19, rising through the ranks rapidly, until 2000 when he became Head of Global Business Development, where he staged his first major marketing and strategic coup – creating Y-3 with Yohji Yamamoto. Overnight, adidas reinvented the fashion paradigm, and Deininger became an admired player in the fashion universe...
...Ultimately, Deininger was a standard bearer of a generation of post-war Germans determined to make their country hip and stylish again. He wanted to create functional beauty, provide something unexpected and valuable for consumers; and make good coin for his company. And to enjoy life as he did so.
Deininger spent a few decades working for adidas, and was instrumental in making the brand represent something more than just sports. Instead, he and the adidas team positioned adidas as being larger part of pop culture. Although Mr. Deininger started working at adidas after RUN DMC dropped rhymes praising the three stripes no doubt, his keen awareness of that cultural moment set the ball rolling.
No one can argue adidas' success in linking the shoe and apparel to both sport and fashion. Nike may have owned sports more, but Nike has always been "I" focused, and adidas has always been a "We" brand.
No doubt, Deininger is partly to thank for this.